A whole new way, has been invented, to store energy from the Sun for several months at a time, with the option of releasing it on demand in the form of heat.
Lancaster University researchers studying a crystalline material have discovered it has properties that allow it to capture energy from the sun and store the same for several months at room temperature, until external heat is applied to switch their state, like a bent spring snapping back.
The researchers developed a “metal-organic framework” (MOF) that consists of metal ions webbed together into three-dimensional structures. Special molecules loaded into the pores of these frameworks are able to absorb UV light and can change their shape when light or heat is applied.
The material functions a bit like phase change materials, which are used to supply heat in hand warmers.
However, while hand warmers need to be heated in order to recharge them,” he added, “the nice thing about this material is that it captures ‘free’ energy directly from the Sun.”
Tests showed that the material was able to store energy for more than four months. According to the researchers, the same technology could be used for data storage and even drug delivery as well.
Reference- Journal Chemistry of Materials, Science Alert, Futurism, Lancaster University website