The Swedes have learned to collect solar energy with the help of liquid
Despite all the advantages of solar energy, there are still many questions. How to collect it, how to store it to use it effectively? Scientists from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have learned how to collect solar energy and store it in a long period of time with the help of liquid.
A new way to collect solar energy
Swedish scientists published in a local scientific journal four articles that describe a way to collect solar energy using a specially designed liquid. It consists of nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon molecules. When sunlight passes through them, these atoms behave quite unusually: connections between them are modified, and the molecule is converted into an isomer, saving energy in a new form. Energy can be stored for a very long time due to the new strong relationships between atoms, even when the water itself cooled to normal room temperature. When this energy may be required – for example, in winter or at night – the liquid must be pumped through a special catalyst, which will return the molecules to the primary form, while the stored energy is released in the form of heat.
One of the scientists, expert on nanomaterials Casper Moth-Pulsen is convinced that energy can be stored for a very long time, up to eighteen years in such form. The prototype of this system, currently installed on the roof of the University, earned the trust of scientists, perfectly coping with its task. It is similar to conventional solar panels, but instead of a heat carrier, a liquid consisting of molecules of norbornadiene polymer is used – when it is affected by solar rays, it becomes the isomer of the quadricyclane. After that, the modified liquid is stored at normal temperature and practically does not lose the stored energy. When it reacts with a metal catalyst, it turns back into a polymer and heats up to 63 degrees Celsius.
Swedish scientists tested 125 times, and are absolutely confident in the realism of its development. They estimated that their system allows to accumulate 250 watts per hour for each liter of liquid, which is twice as much as the capacitive batteries of popular firms, for example, Tesla. Scientists are convinced that in the future they will be able to improve their development and bring the heating temperature of liquid up to 110 degrees. They believe that such systems, which are already of great interest to large investors, will be able to enter the commercial stage
of use in the near future.
Interestingly, China is also engaged in solar energy, only on a much larger scale. So, the Chinese build SES in orbit, but do not understand how to send the collected energy to Earth. Perhaps the Swedish development will bring them to the appropriate thoughts. Thus, scientists from the Academy of space technology of China are engaged in the development of a solar power plant suitable in orbit. This unit will not be affected by any weather conditions. The first prototype of the Chinese want to send into orbit before 2025 – and in the meantime, scientists will have to figure out how to transport the stored energy back home to Earth.