New solar generator to achieve “on-demand power generation”
“Electricity” is a sufficiently special commodity when compared with any other commodity. As we all know, unlike water, electricity cannot be stored in large quantities. Whether it is a daily battery or a pumped storage power station, the proportion of the stored electricity in the total electricity consumption of the whole society is very small.
Moreover, if the power generation is greater than the social demand and cannot be stored in time, the ungenerated electric energy will be converted into the kinetic energy of the rotor in the generator, and the generator will rotate faster. This not only easily leads to generator accidents, but also easily increases the frequency of alternating current in the power grid, which directly leads to abnormality of machinery and equipment on the production line of electricity companies.
The particularity of electricity determines the characteristics of electric energy “as soon as it is generated and used, as much as it is used, and electricity is generated on demand”. However, it has always been a key issue in electricity consumption to accurately predict the electricity consumption for a period of time in the future and use this to determine the amount of electricity generated.
And now, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have created a liquid solar energy storage system that can generate electricity on demand, reports BGR. 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 would allow them to store solar energy.
The system is called a molecular solar thermal (MOST) system. Not only that, but later, the researchers also collaborated with scientists at Shanghai Jiao Tong University to create a compact thermoelectric generator capable of reusing stored solar energy.
This is another revolutionary step in the process of making liquid solar storage more feasible.
And, the researchers say, once perfected, it could open up entirely new avenues for how people harness solar energy. Using the MOST system, the researchers were able to store solar energy in liquid form. This form can last for 18 years before losing its effectiveness.
Among them, carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen make up the specially designed molecules used in the system. When sunlight interacts with the molecule, the atoms inside it rearrange and change shape. This enables the molecule to become an energy-rich isomer. This isomer acts as a liquid solar energy storage solution.
By combining a liquid solar storage solution with a thermoelectric generator, the researchers were able to reuse this electricity. The generator is an ultra-thin chip. Researcher Wang Zhihang said they could integrate the system into electronics such as smartwatches and headphones.
The researchers have published their findings in Cell Reports Physical Science.