Energy storage is possibly the biggest technological hurdle humanity faces in our goal to develop 100% renewable energy grids. From chemical storage to pumped storage to hydrogen, the energy world is exploring various techniques to not just storage energy but store it efficiently.
Back in 2017, a research team located at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden unveiled a system called MolecularSolar Thermal (MOST), which at the time was ground-breaking. Since their development, the team has joined forced with a research team at Shanghai’s JiaoTong University to create a compact thermoelectric generator capable of harnessing the stored electrical energy.
The MOST system utilises a molecular compound of Nitrogen, Hydrogen and Carbon. The compounds are readily available and cost effective to produce which could be the key to providing cheaper, longer duration energy storage. When sunlight or photon energy interacts with the molecules, the structure of the atoms are re-arranged and reformed allowing the molecule to become an energy abundant isomer.
The teams current research indicates that the solar energy can be stored up to 18 years in the liquid. With the new development with Jiao Tong University, this energy storage could provide on-demand power. The thermo-electric generator is the size of a small micro-chip making it also a great solution for harnessing solar energy for small electronics.
The team’s latest findings can be found at: Cell Reports Physical