A group of researcher scientists from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg claim that they have invented a solar energy device which could store energy for up to 2 decades.
While researchers have been trying to develop an affordable and effective way of capturing, storing, and releasing solar energy, some researcher scientists from Sweden confirm that they have sorted it all out. The group of scientists have evolved a technology that allows the power of the sun (Solar Energy) to be stored for decades and then use it across a range of consumer applications from heating appliances to driving vehicles.
Scientists at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg have devised a way to harness the solar energy and reserve it for future use. As explained by the scientists this stored energy could later be used in the form of heat or electric energy, even after decades.
What is Technology?
This innovate technology is nothing like conventional coal/carbon-based batteries. The technology is based on an energy-trapping molecule which can store energy for a much longer period, in a much better way than the traditional batteries, at least in case of heating. Besides, they have also developed a special energy-storing laminate coating which can be applied to our doors, windows, textiles etc.
The system is made up using a liquid molecule consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen elements. These molecules start to store the sun’s energy; the molecule draws in the energy and holds it until a catalyst triggers its release in the form of heat.
The Team behind the Innovation
The breakthroughs have been built by a team led by researcher Kasper Moth-Poulsen. The lead scientists and the whole team are being praised within the scientific community. However, the real test that comes in is whether Moth-Poulsen can get investors to back his technology and take it to market.
Although, the researchers have already spent almost a decade and $2.5 million to create a specialized storage unit. The 40-year-old professor Moth-Poulsen from the department of chemistry and chemical engineering of the University firmly believes that the storage unit has the stability to outlast the up to 18 years surpassing the normal span of typical lithium-ion batteries on the market today which lasts 5 to 10 years.
The Transparent Coating Technology
Apart from the energy storing liquid molecule, the research team has also developed a special transparent coating which is a special energy-storing laminate coating. This coat can be applied to house windows, doors, a moving vehicle and even on your clothes. This coating absorbs the sun’s energy and converts it into heat, thus reducing the need for electricity and simultaneously reduces the carbon emission.
The scientist is coating an entire building on the university campus to exhibit the potential of their innovation. However, the big question that is still unanswered is whether the system can produce electricity. Although the team is currently focused on optimising the heating feature, Moth-Poulsen believes the potential exists in future that the technology can be used to drive electricity through solar power as well.
Agenda behind the Innovation?
The group consisting of about 15 researchers have been struggling for almost a decade to develop a technology to curb climate change with molecular thermal solar systems. The Paris Agreement, which commits the signing countries to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5C (2.7F) is a source of great motivation for them.
About the Future
Moth-Poulsen envisions a great future with his innovation. He has planned to incorporate a company which will work upon advancing the technology. He is also looking for venture capital investors to kick-start his company soon.
As per the statement was given by the concerned people, they will be able to serve the storage unit commercially in the market in about three years, while the energy-absorbing coating might take a few time as there is an additional $5 million worth of fundings pending.
The professors have not yet come up with precise cost estimates. However, they aim to make it affordable for everyone. What will give them an edge here is that the innovation will not require any rare or expensive elements.
Jeffrey Grossman, a professor in the department of materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is also working on developing similar kind of energy storage molecules. According to him, the Chalmers University team’s work is “crucial if we want to see this energy conversion storage approach commercialized.”
Peter Schossig says he wants to help turn the Swedish team’s research into a product. But, he says, “There’s still a ways to go.” He runs the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany.
Moth-Poulsen has also won the ‘Arnbergska Prize’ from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his solar energy projects in May 2019.