The Sun is a huge source of energy. In just one hour, planet Earth is hit by so much sunshine that humankind could cover its energy needs for an entire year if only we knew how to harvest and save it.
But storing sunshine is not trivial. Now a student at Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen has researched his way to a breakthrough which may prove pivotal for technologies trying to capture the energy of the sun, and saving it for a rainy day.
Solar energy breakthrough in European top journal
Anders Bo Skov has recently started studying for his Master’s degree in chemistry at University of Copenhagen. Together with his supervisor, Mogens Brøndsted Nielsen, he is publishing the paper ”Towards Solar Energy Storage in the Photochromic Dihydroazulene-Vinylheptafulvene System” in the journal “Chemistry – A European Journal”.
Efficient solar storage blocked by apparant law of nature
Professor Brøndsted is in charge of “Center for Exploitation of Solar Energy” at University of Copenhagen. Here his team is attempting to develop molecules capable of harvesting and holding substantial amounts of solar energy, storing it for significant amounts of time, and releasing it on demand. Regrettably, a year of research had them butting their heads against what looked like an irksome law of nature. As the capacity of the molecules to hold energy seemed to improve, the capacity to store it over time dropped; and vice versa.
“Anders’ achievement was to double the energy density in a molecule that can hold its shape for a hundred years. Our only problem now is how we get it to release the energy again!
Mogens Brøndsted Nielsen, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen
Doubled capacity- Multiplied time
The group is working with molecules known as the Dihydroazulene-Vinylheptafulvene system. Put very simply, this stores energy by changing shape, but every time the Brøndsted group managed to design improved molecules, the molecules lost some of their ability to hold their “energy storage” shape, says professor Brøndsted.
“Regardless of what we did to prevent it, the molecules would change their shape back and release the stored energy after just an hour or two. Anders’ achievement was that he managed to double the energy density in a molecule that can hold its shape for a hundred years. Our only problem now is how we get it to release the energy again. The molecule does not seem to want to change its shape back again“, grins Mogens Brøndsted.
Success in the nick of time
During his Bachelor studies Anders Bo Skov had four months to improve Brøndsted’s unstable molecule for his bachelor project. And he made it in the nick of time. Chemistry is a lot like baking. No bread is likely to come out of the oven if, for example, the flour disappears while the dough is proving. Using that analogy, Skov’s “bread” persisted in disappearing between his very hands. The molecules he was working with were that unstable.
“My chemical “recipe” demanded four synthesis steps in order to work. The first three were a piece of cake. I had them working in just a month. Getting the last step in order took me three months”, explains Skov.
When theory meets reality and reality wins
Regardless of method, when you store energy, there is a theoretical limit to the energy density… And then there is reality. In theory, a kilogram of the right molecules could store a megajoule of energy if they were perfectly designed. With that amount of energy you can heat three liters of water from room temperature to boiling.
A kilo of Skov’s molecules can boil only 75 centiliters but it does that in just three minutes. This means that his molecules could bring 15 liters of water to boil per hour, and Skov as well as his supervisor are convinced that this is just the beginning.
“What Anders has achieved is an important breakthrough. Admittedly we do not have a good method to release the energy on demand, and we should increase the energy density further still. But now we know which path to take in order to succeed”, says a visibly enthusiastic professor Mogens Brøndsted.
Solar batteries might make nice cup of tea
Skov too is excited: Mostly because his molecules are sustainable on more levels than just the obvious one. Not only do they harvest sustainable solar energy. They are also completely non-toxic, he relates.
The Latest on: Energy harvesting
via Google News
The Latest on: Energy harvesting
- How to optimize building and home automation designs to be more energy-efficienton June 25, 2020 at 3:11 pm
By Brian Dempsey, system design engineer, Texas Instruments The numbers are a wake-up call: According to the United Nations, the buildings and construction sector accounted for 36% of the world’s ...
- Global energy harvesting market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 8.7% over the forecast period from 2020-2026on June 25, 2020 at 9:47 am
New York, June 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reportlinker.com announces the release of ...
- The World's Tiniest Motor Is a Li'l Energy-Losing Quantum Tunnelon June 25, 2020 at 6:18 am
Scientists have unveiled a functional motor made with just 16 atoms. The researchers, from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), made the tiny motor, which is ...
- Building Better Bridges for Moving Energyon June 19, 2020 at 3:07 pm
Precisely positioning molecules on wire-like DNA assemblies allows high efficiency energy transfer. DOE/US Department of Energy. The Scie ...
- Energy Harvesting Market Size Historical Growth, Analysis, Opportunities and Forecast To 2027on June 16, 2020 at 12:38 pm
Selbyville, Delaware Market Study Report LLC delivers significant information and realistic data of the Global ENERGY HARVESTING Market via this newly added research in its database. The report ...
- New Editor-in-Chief appointed for Journal of Photonics for Energyon June 16, 2020 at 8:05 am
Sean Shaheen, associate professor of optics, nanostructures, and bioengineering in the University of Colorado Boulder's Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, will become the new ...
- Insights on the Worldwide Energy Harvesting Industry to 2025 - Featuring Cymbet, ABB & Powercast Among Otherson June 5, 2020 at 4:03 am
Research and Markets also offers Custom Research services providing focused, comprehensive and tailored research. CONTACT: ResearchAndMarkets.com Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager [email protected] ...
- Global Energy Harvesting Market (2020 to 2025) - Key Drivers, Constraints and Challenges - ResearchAndMarkets.comon June 4, 2020 at 9:31 am
DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The "Energy Harvesting Market - Forecast (2020 - 2025)" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. According to the Consumers International Organization ...
- Global Energy Harvesting Market (2020 to 2025) - Key Drivers, Constraints and Challenges - ResearchAndMarkets.comon June 4, 2020 at 7:53 am
The "Energy Harvesting Market - Forecast (2020 - 2025)" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. According to the Consumers International Organization, globally, with the advent ...
- Global Energy Harvesting Market (2020 to 2025) - Key Drivers, Constraints and Challenges - ResearchAndMarkets.comon June 4, 2020 at 7:51 am
The "Energy Harvesting Market - Forecast (2020 - 2025)" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.According to the Consumers International Organization, globally, with the advent of ...
via Bing News