The key is the creation of a new generator that is capable of converting solar energy into a liquid compound that can be recycled.
It is no secret that the human race is closer to exhausting the planet’s fossil fuel supply. Science has been making strides for many years to find the best way to deliver low-cost renewable energy. Today we have authentic fields full of solar panels, tidal power plants and endless energy alternatives to coal and oil. But advances and progress never stop, and this new discovery is proof of that.
The technology to store solar energy has been around since 2017, and is the result of research at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. The process was baptized as MOST (Molecular Solar Thermal system), and although he was a pioneer in discovering it, he failed to demonstrate that this method had applications as a new way of using renewable energy. However, that has recently changed.
A team of scientists from Shanghai Jiao Tong University have developed a thermoelectric generator that is capable of using stored energy and recycling it. The MOST method uses carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, and when the solution comes into contact with sunlight, it changes state. This generates a liquid compound that is easy to store and that now, thanks to the performance of the generator, can function as a source of energy for electronic devices. It is essentially bottled solar energy.
A liquid compound capable of powering devices for almost two decades
Thanks to this new generator, this liquid energy can be reused and efficient for more than 18 years. At the moment, these figures only take into account the power of small equipment such as smartwatches or headphones (which are some objects that can already work using this energy), but Kasper Moth-Poulsen, the leader of the research, says that the possibilities can be exploited to unsuspected limits.
“This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy. It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of the weather, time of day, season or geographic location. I am very excited about this job. We hope that when this method is perfected it will become an important part of the energy system of the future.”
The great challenge is to integrate a small-scale generator into different types of products, so that the process of “recycling” energy could be done without the need for external equipment. That way the process could be automated and One solar charge could generate enough power to power equipment for years.
If advances make it possible to generate this type of energy on a large scale, this could become the most efficient way of generating renewable energy that we have to date. At the moment this technology has only been tested with small devices, but who knows if in the future we could talk about cars powered by this type of solar energy. It’s a very ambitious idea, but this new method can pave the way for huge improvements in energy use and management in the future.
Related topics: Science