MIT and Harvard physicists have came up with a new method of storing solar energy. According to them, the world’s energy needs are increasing while the energy sources are depleting with time. It is about time that we make some advancement in the solar storage technology. With the advent of “photoswitching”, storing solar energy on compact devices, with high stability, easier transportation and handling and lower cost will be possible.
The photoswitches molecules can take two different shapes. They act as if they have a hinge in the middle and can observe a different shape when their energy is depleted and a very different shape when they are charged with energy. However, their shape also supports better stability when the energy is full. When the energy is to be used, the molecules are exposed to lower light, heat and electricity to take them to their normal shape. These are hence, rechargeable thermal batteries, which can store the sunlight for as long as required, and then release it upon requirement.
The complete research is based on a compound called azobenzene. The compound was attached to the carbon nanotubes. When these carbon nanotubes were packed together in the right proportions, the azobenzene formed gripping teeth around the nanotubes, which held the tubes together. Due to that, the nanotubes were able to store a viable energy amount. A researcher also believed that the energy would most probably take a liquid form once this technology reaches the markets and starts to sell commercially. This will enable and allow easier transportation.
The scientists believe that this new technology can be used in many great ways especially where energy is produced by burning wood and oil. This new mode of energy will eliminate many environmental hazards, which are otherwise caused because of combustion. Moreover, the gathering of combustible fuel is also difficult.
To recharge these power sources, one only needs to leave it in the sunlight. The device would automatically charge. The energy flow is only one sided and is restricted from flowing back out. Once it has charged completely, the direction of the energy flow is reversed. This flow of energy is gravity driven and the gravity controls its flow in and flow out. However, the researchers are still working on the new discovery so that they can work on forming a much dense solar energysource. This power source would be able to store more energy and at the same time, the outflow of the energy would be controllable to a higher scale for bigger operations.
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