Eco Fill-up

Liquid Fuel Stores Solar Energy




Sanit Fuangnakhon/Shutterstock.com

Solar power is cheap and plentiful, but there has been no way to store it efficiently. Scientists from Chalmers University of Technology, in Gothenberg, Sweden, are developing a liquid molecule composed of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen that when exposed to sunlight, rearranges the bonds between its atoms into an energized new isomer. In this way, energy from the sun is captured between the isomer’s strong chemical bonds and stays there even when the molecule cools down to room temperature.

When the energy is needed, the fluid is drawn through a catalyst that returns the molecule to its original form, releasing energy as heat. “The energy in this isomer can now be stored for up to 18 years,” says Chalmers University nanomaterials scientist Kasper Moth-Poulsen. “And when we come to extract the energy and use it, we get a warmth increase, which is greater than we dared hope for.”

The hope is that this warmth can be used for domestic heating systems, powering a building’s water heater, dishwasher, clothes dryer and more. The scientists claim the fluid can now hold 250 watt-hours of energy per kilogram, double the energy capacity of Tesla’s Powerwall batteries. Moth-Poulsen believes the technology could be available for commercial use within 10 years.


This article appears in the March 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Techno Timber

A new, lightweight synthetic wood made of polymer resin and chitosan, a sugar polymer derived from the shells of shrimp and crabs, can withstand fire and water damage.

Spring Decluttering

Getting rid of the old can by done step by step, opening up space not only in our closets but in our psyches.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Diggin’ (in) The Dirt on TV

Mike Nowak and Jennifer Brennan are hosting a new television program, Dig In Chicago, the latest of the Dig In family of shows.

Not All CBD Oil is Created Equal

Cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, has gained increased attention over the last few years.

Celebrate at Infinity Foundation Gala Benefit

The nonprofit Infinity Foundation’s annual fundraising benefit will be at the Highland Park Country Club, to support more than 200 course offerings and community services.

Grand Opening for Greenheart Shop’s New Home in Old Town

The Greenheart Shop has moved from Wicker Park to a new location at 1714 North Wells Street, in Chicago’s Old Town.

Learn to GrowWELL at Agricultural High School

The Chicago Public School Office of Student Health and Wellness is holding a morning of gardening and school wellness workshops from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., September 4, at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, to kick off the new school year.

Local Author Chosen for Chicken Soup Sequel

Evanston resident Carrie Jackson's essay on caring for her father will be featured in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias.