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‘photoswitches,’ – a coming breakthrough in solar energy?

Scientists Discover How to Generate Solar Power in the Dark Meet ‘photoswitches,’ a breakthrough set of materials that act as their own batteries, absorbing energy and releasing it on demand. THE ATLANTIC, APR 15 2014, The next big thing in solar energy could be microscopic.

Scientists at MIT and Harvard University have devised a way to store solar energy in molecules that can then be tapped to heat homes, water or used for cooking.

The best part: The molecules can store the heat forever and be endlessly re-used while emitting absolutely no greenhouse gases.  Scientists remain a way’s off in building this perpetual heat machine but they have succeeded in the laboratory at demonstrating the viability of the phenomenon called photoswitching……….

“One design we have for such an application is purely gravity driven – the material flows from one tank to another. The flow rate is restricted so that it’s exposed to the sun long enough that it gets fully charged. Then, when it’s time to cook dinner, after the sun is down, the flow direction is reversed, again driven by gravity, and the opposite side of the setup is used as the cooking surface.”

“As the material flows back to the first tank, it passes by an immobilized catalyst which triggers the energy-releasing process, heating the cooking surface up,” he adds.

Other versions of such device could be used to heat buildings.

Kucharski said the MIT and Harvard team is now investigating other photoswitching molecules and substrates, “with the aim of designing a system that absorbs more of the sun’s energy and also can be more practically scaled up.” http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/scientists-discover-how-to-generate-solar-power-in-the-dark/360679/

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April 29, 2014 - Posted by | decentralised, USA

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