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Energy energy Solar

Solar energy turned into liquid fuel can be stored for 18 years

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by: Yvonne Doff
solar energy turned into liquid fuel can be stored for 18 years

It works like a rechargeable battery, which is charged by the sun

Sunlight in a bottle?

A major discovery in the field of solar fuel could make it possible to store solar energy for years to come. It is hard to believe that we are still using fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. We have a sun bombing our planet daily with abundant, clean, renewable energy. However, fossil fuels do have an often overlooked advantage over solar energy, which has long prevented solar energy from really popping up: they are fuel.

Solar energy, for all its benefits, does not come in the form of fuel, which essentially means it cannot be stored easily. This could now all change, following a breakthrough in the development of a fuel that can capture and save the sun's energy. Scientists say that this fuel can store that energy for up to 18 years, reports NBC.

Call it 'sunlight in a bottle'. Researchers in Sweden have detected a specialised liquid that operates like a rechargeable battery. The sunlight shines on the device, and the fluid absorbs it. At a later stage, that energy can be released as heat by merely adding a catalyst. This remarkable discovery could be how we power our homes by 2030.

How to get sunlight in and heat out?

"A solar thermal fuel is like a rechargeable battery, but instead of electricity, you put sunlight in and get heat out, triggered on demand," explained Jeffrey Grossman, who is in charge of the MIT lab working on the project. It is incredibly easy. The liquid consists of a molecule of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen that reacts to the presence of sunlight by shifting its atomic bonds. The particle, fundamentally, transforms the molecule into a cage that "captures" the energy of the sun. Surprisingly enough, this energy content is retained even after the liquid itself has cooled to room temperature.

To release the energy, pass the liquid over a cobalt-containing catalyst, returning the molecules to their original form. As a result: energy from sunlight comes from the cage as heat. "And when we come to extract the energy and use it, we get a warmth increase which is greater than we dared to hope for," says Kasper Moth-Poulsen, one of the team members.

A rechargeable device that does not lose capacity

Early results have shown that once the liquid has passed by the catalyst, it heats up with 113 degrees Fahrenheit. But researchers believe that with the right mixes they can elevate the output to 230 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Noted today, the system can double the power capacity of Tesla's reputed Powerwall batteries. This has drawn the attention of countless investors. Even better, researchers have tested the liquid through as many as 125 cycles. The particle has shown almost no degradation. In short, it is a rechargeable battery that continues to take charge without losing much capacity over many applications.

What is it being used for?

The technology is intended to be applied for domestic heating systems, like powering a building's water heater, dishwasher, dryer, etc. Since the energy comes in the form of fuel, it can be stored and used even when the sun is not shining. It should also be possible to transport energy through pipes or trucks. If everything goes as planned - and it seems to be going much better than expected so far - researchers estimate that the technology could be available for commercial use within ten years. Given the rapidly escalating climate change crisis, this could not happen fast enough.

https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy

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Writer, traveller and dreamer. Love to write, like to travel. Passion for language, cultures and what happens in the world. 
Writer, traveller and dreamer. Love to write, like to travel. Passion for language, cultures and what happens in the world. 
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Solar energy turned into liquid fuel can be stored for 18 years

It works like a rechargeable battery, which is charged by the sun Sunlight in a bottle? A major discovery in the field of solar fuel could make it possible to store solar energy for years to come. It is hard to believe that we are still using fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. We have a sun bombing our planet daily with abundant, clean, renewable energy. However, fossil fuels do have an often overlooked advantage over solar energy, which has long prevented solar energy from really popping up: they are fuel. Solar energy, for all its benefits, does not come in the form of fuel, which essentially means it cannot be stored easily. This could now all change, following a breakthrough in the development of a fuel that can capture and save the sun's energy. Scientists say that this fuel can store that energy for up to 18 years, reports NBC. Call it 'sunlight in a bottle'. Researchers in Sweden have detected a specialised liquid that operates like a rechargeable battery. The sunlight shines on the device, and the fluid absorbs it. At a later stage, that energy can be released as heat by merely adding a catalyst. This remarkable discovery could be how we power our homes by 2030. How to get sunlight in and heat out? "A  solar thermal fuel is like a rechargeable battery, but instead of electricity, you put sunlight in and get heat out, triggered on demand," explained Jeffrey Grossman, who is in charge of the MIT lab working on the project.  It is incredibly easy. The liquid consists of a molecule of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen that reacts to the presence of sunlight by shifting its atomic bonds. The particle, fundamentally, transforms the molecule into a cage that "captures" the energy of the sun. Surprisingly enough, this energy content is retained even after the liquid itself has cooled to room temperature. To release the energy, pass the liquid over a cobalt-containing catalyst, returning the molecules to their original form. As a result: energy from sunlight comes from the cage as heat. "And when we come to extract the energy and use it, we get a warmth increase which is greater than we dared to hope for," says Kasper Moth-Poulsen, one of the team members. A rechargeable device that does not lose capacity Early results have shown that once the liquid has passed by the catalyst, it heats up with 113 degrees Fahrenheit. But researchers believe that with the right mixes they can elevate the output to 230 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Noted today, the system can double the power capacity of Tesla's reputed Powerwall batteries. This has drawn the attention of countless investors.  Even better, researchers have tested the liquid through as many as 125 cycles. The particle has shown almost no degradation. In short, it is a rechargeable battery that continues to take charge without losing much capacity over many applications. What is it being used for? The technology is intended to be applied for domestic heating systems, like powering a building's water heater, dishwasher, dryer, etc. Since the energy comes in the form of fuel, it can be stored and used even when the sun is not shining. It should also be possible to  transport energy through pipes or trucks.  If everything goes as planned - and it seems to be going much better than expected so far - researchers estimate that the technology could be available for commercial use within ten years. Given the rapidly escalating climate change crisis, this could not happen fast enough. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy