One challenge is that it is difficult to store solar energy and deliver the energy ‘on demand’.
A research team from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, has shown that it is possible to convert the solar energy directly into energy stored in the bonds of a chemical fluid – a so-called molecular solar thermal system.
The liquid chemical makes it possible to store and transport the stored solar energy and release it on demand, with full recovery of the storage medium. ‘The technique means that that we can store the solar energy in chemical bonds and release the energy as heat whenever we need it. ‘Combining the chemical energy storage with water heating solar panels enables a conversion of more than 80 percent of the incoming sunlight. ‘At the same time, we are demonstrating a robust system that can sustain more than 140 energy storage and release cycles with negligible degradation.
Publication: Exploring the potential of a hybrid device combining solar water heating and molecular solar thermal energy storage.