New materials can store energy from the sun for months or years

If we are going to be better at energizing the planet with renewable energy, we need to be better at finding ways to store that energy effectively until energy is needed – and scientists have identified a specific material that can help us. Can give exactly.

Materials are known as metallic-organic structures (MOFs), in which carbon-based atoms combine to form ions of metals. Critically, MOFs are porous, so they can form composite materials with other small molecules.

What the team did here, added the benzene molecules of the light absorbent compound. The finished composite material was able to store energy radiation from ultraviolet light at room temperature for at least four months before being re-released – a big improvement over the days or weeks that most light-responsive materials can manage.

John Griffin, a materials chemist at the University of Lancaster in the UK, says, “This material works a bit like a material for phasing, which is used to heat the hand warmers.”

“However, hand warmers need to be heated to recharge. The great thing about this material is that it receives free energy from the direct sun.”

Azobz nezin acts as a photowitch – a nuclear machine that responds to external stimuli such as light or heat. Under ultraviolet light, the molecules change shape while remaining in the MOF pore framework, effectively storing the radiation.

Using heat on a composite MOF material results in faster release of energy into the furnace itself which provides heat, which can then potentially be used to heat other materials or devices.

While some work still needs to be done to make the material commercially viable, it can ultimately be used to de-ice the car-windscreen, or to supply additional heating for homes and .faces, or heating sources in -f-grid locations As can be. Photowitch like this also has an application in data storage and drug delivery.

“There are no moves or electronic parts, so there is no harm in storing and releasing solar energy,” says Griffin. “We hope that with further development we will be able to create other materials that store even more space.”

While past research has also focused on storing solar energy rays in photovich, they usually need to be kept in liquids. Switching to MOF Composite Solid means the system is easier to insert and also has more chemical stability.

Right now, more work is needed to prepare this MOF material for widespread use. While tests show that it can hold energy for months at a time, the material’s energy density is relatively low, which is one area researchers are hoping to improve.

The good news is that there is a lot about the setup used in this research that can be tweaked and adjusted to try and improve results – which will hopefully lead to another cost-effective and reliable way to store cost savings that we can rely on. .

“Our approach means that there are many ways to optimize this content by replacing Photowich itself or through a porous host framework,” says Nathan Halkovich, an X-ray technician at the University of Lancaster.

Research has been published in Chemistry of materials.