2014-04-13. A molecular approach to solar power.

posted Apr 18, 2014, 4:29 PM by Angela Miller
For GSS Energy Use chapter 8. Excerpt: It’s an obvious truism, but one that may soon be outdated: The problem with solar power is that sometimes the sun doesn’t shine. Now a team at MIT and Harvard University has come up with an ingenious workaround — a material that can absorb the sun’s heat and store that energy in chemical form, ready to be released again on demand. This solution is no solar-energy panacea: While it could produce electricity, it would be inefficient at doing so. But for applications where heat is the desired output — whether for heating buildings, cooking, or powering heat-based industrial processes — this could provide an opportunity for the expansion of solar power into new realms. ...Unlike fuels that are burned, this system uses material that can be continually reused. It produces no emissions and nothing gets consumed...The adoption of carbon nanotubes to increase materials’ energy storage density is “clever,”...the resulting increase in energy storage density “is surprising and remarkable.” “This result provides additional motivation for researchers to design more and better photochromic compounds and composite materials that optimize the storage of solar energy in chemical bonds,” Kanai says... http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/molecular-approach-to-solar-power. By David L. Chandle, MIT News Office.