One of the most significant problems of the world is finding a storage location or vast areas to store solar energy. Developed countries have resorted to the most common way of saving energy in the forms of hydro and thermal power. However, solar thermal energy is still a developing field with a higher possibility of helping to ease the daily lives of humanity. Hence, that is why scientists today believe in the power of the sun as a source of energy, more powerful than a million electric power plants.
Another breakthrough in the field of science was created earlier this year by a group of scientists headed by Dr. Dhandapani Venkataraman, a chemist at the University of Massachusetts. The team reported having developed a new polymer that effectively absorbs and releases heat, making way to the so-called “AzoPMA,” a plastic-like material developed to replace electrical batteries used in iPhones and Tesla cars.
AzoPMA can store a record-setting of 200-thermal energy as much as water, a key to the development of high-efficiency thermal battery. But the invention to create an alternative for storing heat does not end with AzoPMA. Today, dedicated scientists focus on the newest creation which is turning sunshine into liquid for solar thermal energy use.
How does sunshine turn into liquid fuel?
Thinking on how this pocketful of sunshine can turn into liquid fuel might sound like turning a cat into a dinosaur. That’s how absurd this idea to some. However, if Neil Armstrong as a child, first dreamt of stepping into the moon and achieved it after twenty years of perseverance, then nothing is impossible in the field of Science. Just like what Swedish scientists from the Chalmers University of Technology is currently doing.
The team found out that Norbornadiene compound is the primary reason why this invention took form. It reacts to sunlight, and the key here is rearranging its carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen atoms which can be stored in an energy-storing isomer called a ‘quadricyclane.’ These quadricyclanes are expected to hold up to 250 watt-hours of energy even after cooling down for a more extended period.
The solar energy storage system uses a liquid isomer to store and release solar energy. Researchers claimed that they could stow the solar thermal fuel and convert it into usable energy in an emission-free energy device. The team described the invention as a concave reflector with a pipe in the center for tracking the sun.
According to the researchers behind the discovery, the said invention could lead to the
Advantages of Specialized Fluid
Aside from absorbing heat from the sun, the development of a functional fluid that can store solar energy for months or even years. Meaning to say, people can choose to release it when needed and can be preserved for almost 18 years without decay.
Solar Thermal Liquid Fuel as an Alternative to Fossil Fuel
The breakthrough innovation known as solar thermal fuel could put an end to fossil fuel usage which is turning scarce nowadays. This discovery can be seen as an alternative to fossil fuels and eventually help solve the current global warming crisis.
Unlike other fossil fuels, which are very harmful to the environment and the atmosphere as it produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, solar thermal fuel is eco-friendly, as well as, reusable. As explained by Jeffrey Grossman, an MIT engineer who works with the materials, a solar thermal fuel is like a rechargeable battery, but instead of electricity, people use the heat of the sun.
This thermal fuel can be used to power homes aside from using electricity. The world needs a backup on its hydro and wind energy for sources of power before the supplies run out. Researchers indicated that fuel’s thermal energy has many industrial applications, transportation; as alternatives for gasoline to mobilize cars, other automobiles, and even rockets. It will also help to run locomotives and a safe option to fuel fire instead of using woods.
Still a work in progress but will shock the world soon
Although scientists admitted that this innovation is still a work in progress, they are confident enough that these thermal fuels will replace coal and oil and may reduce nuclear waste produced by using fossils. They are also looking for ways to use the power in wind and water, but their focus as of now is using the sun’s rays to make a thermal fuel that will have a long-term impact and practical applications to humans in the future. So imagine that this energy source will never run out—at least not for a few billion years.