Converting to solar power is a great way to decrease your carbon footprint and stop depending on fossil fuels for you energy consumption, but storing the energy generated by solar panels has long been a difficult thing to do.
A team of scientists from China and The Netherlands are working on a small and simple design that could not only efficiently store solar energy, it could also store it for years or even decades.
“This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy,” Kasper Moth-Poulsen, the Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University, recently told Euronews. “It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of weather, time of day, season, or geographical location.”
The design in part utilizes an engineered molecule that changes shape when it comes in contact with light to form an isomer, which can hold its shape when immersed in liquid.
When matter changes form, energy is released, so this molecule could therefore generate electricity. “The generator is an ultra-thin chip that could be integrated into electronics such as headphones, smart watches and telephones,” researcher Zhihang Wang from Chalmers University of Technology noted.