Now, capture and store sunlight using liquid battery

Monday, November 22, 2010

WASHINGTON - Ever wondered how sunlight could be stored and used when needed? Well, it may be possible one day, say MIT researchers, who are working on making a new method for capturing and storing sunlight that would make this renewable energy indefinitely storable and transportable.

Jeffrey Grossman and colleagues research is based on the molecule fulvalene diruthenium, which is derived from the rare, expensive and platinum-like element, ruthenium.

Grossman and his team found that when a fulvalene diruthenium molecule absorbs sun, it changes shape into a semi-stable formation. Adding a catalyst to the mixture snaps the molecule back into it original form.

This is very interesting from a solar energy perspective because the molecule can absorb sun and remain in the semi-stable state indefinitely until a catalyst snaps it back into its original form. When that last change occurs, energy is released that can be used to heat a home or power appliances.

“There are probably a number of ways it could work at a systems level,” Discovery News quoted Grossman as writing in an email.

“But one possible picture would be that the fuel could be placed out in the sun in deep pools, and throughout the day the fuel would get charged by the sunlight. Once charged it can be pumped and delivered (through pipes, or other means) to a point of use-that could be nearby or far away,” he said.

A fuel made from fulvalene diruthenium, “can get as hot as 200 degrees Celsius, plenty hot enough to heat your home, or even to run an engine to produce electricity,” he said.

However, the major glitch in this method is that the diruthenium molecule is expensive and so using it as a rechargeable liquid battery is not practical. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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