Electricity is a special enough commodity compared with any other commodity. It is well known that electricity, unlike water, cannot be stored in large quantities. Regardless of the common storage battery or pumped storage power station, the amount of electricity stored in the total consumption of the whole society is very small.
And if more electricity is produced than society needs and cannot be stored in time, the unused energy is converted into kinetic energy for the rotors in the generator, which will spin faster. This is not only easy to cause generator accidents, but also easy to increase the frequency of ac power in the power grid, which directly leads to the abnormal machine equipment on the production line of power enterprises.
The particularity of electricity determines the characteristic of electric energy "that is to send and use, how much to send and how much to generate electricity according to demand". But predicting exactly how much electricity will be used over time, and using that to determine how much electricity will be produced, has always been a big issue.
And now, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have created a liquid solar storage system that generates electricity on demand, BGR reports. The system can store solar energy for up to 18 years, allowing it to be released when and where it is needed.
In fact, back in 2017, the research team unveiled a system that allowed them to store solar energy. The system is called molecular solar Thermal Energy (MOST). Not only that, but the researchers later collaborated with scientists at Shanghai Jiao Tong University to create a compact thermoelectric generator that could reuse stored solar energy.
Chen Gen: A new solar generator to achieve "power on demand"
This is another revolutionary step in the process of making liquid solar storage more viable. And, researchers say, once perfected, it could open up entirely new ways for people to harness the power of the sun. Using the MOST system, the researchers were able to store solar energy in liquid form. This can last up to 18 years before losing its effectiveness.
Of these, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen make up specially designed molecules used in the system. When sunlight interacts with the molecule, the atoms inside it rearrange and change shape. This allows the molecule to become an energy-rich isomer. The isomer acts as a liquid solar storage solution.
By combining a liquid solar storage solution with a thermoelectric generator, the researchers were able to reuse this power. The generator is an ultra-thin chip. Researcher Zhihang Wang said they could integrate the system into electronic products such as smartwatches and headphones.
The researchers have published their findings in Cell Reports Physical Science.