Solar-powered electronics are one step closer to becoming an everyday part of our lives all thanks to the latest revolutionary scientific breakthrough.
In 2017, a group of scientists at a Swedish university created an energy system that makes it possible to capture and store solar energy for up to 18 years, releasing it in the form of heat when needed. Now, according to a recent development the researchers have succeeded in getting the system to produce electricity by connecting it to a thermoelectric generator.
Though the concept developed at the Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenberg is still in its early stages, it could pave way for self-charging electronics that could make use of this stored solar energy.
The research leader, Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers, explains:
This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy. It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of weather, time of day, season, or geographical location.
Solar energy is the cleanest and the most abundant renewable energy source available, but it only works reliably when the sun shines. But technology to tackle this shortcoming is already in the works.
How it Works
The technology is based on a specially designed molecule of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen that shape-shifts into an energy-rich isomer, whenever it encounters sunlight. The isomer can then be stored in liquid form for later use when needed, such as at night or in the depths of winter.
A catalyst then releases the saved energy as heat while returning the molecule to its original shape, making it ready to be used again. Over the last few years, researchers have refined the system to the point that has now become possible to store the energy for an extended time period of 18 years.