Researchers say they have taken a key step forwards in making a molecule that can store solar energy. Publishing their latest findings in the journal Energy and Environmental Science , the team from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden first showed off their solar-storing molecule last year. Made from carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, the molecule is transformed into an “energy-rich isomer”, one made of the same atoms but bound in a different way, when it is hit by sunlight. The isomer can then be stored as a liquid, with the energy being used later. Much later. "The energy in this isomer can now be stored for up to 18 years,” Kasper Moth-Poulsen, the team’s leader, said in a statement . “And when we come to extract the energy and use it, we get a warmth increase which is greater than we dared hope for." The entire system is called Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage (MOST). Sunlight is captured by the liquid, via a solar thermal collector on the roof of a building. This is essentially a concave reflector with a pipe in the middle, which tracks the Sun’s path like a satellite dish. The collector focuses the Sun’s rays […]

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