Scientists have turned solar energy into liquid fuel

Swedish physicists from the University of Chalmers have developed a liquid that can absorb the energy of sunlight in molecular bonds, store it for several years and if necessary to release.

So far, scientists presented the prototype of the system, which can accumulate up to 250 watt-hours of energy per kilogram of a substance, which is about twice the energy intensity of Tesla Powerwall batteries. As the «sun-fuel» improves, it will be able to replace gas, coal and oil, in parallel by solving the issue of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and environmental pollution.

The principle of operation of the system is based on the fact that the pump pumps a special fluid through transparent pipes, where, under the influence of ultraviolet, the molecule of the substance is rebuilt the links between carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen atoms. During this process, the compound known as Norbornadyne turns into a quadricyclan. Since the energy is absorbed by strong chemical bonds, the formed substance retains the captured solar energy even when it cools.

To remove the energy, the activated substance is passed through cobalt-based catalyst. As a result, quadricyclan is transformed back to Norbornadyne, in parallel increasing its temperature by 63 ° C. The resulting energy can be used for household and industrial needs. For example, heating, water heating, sterilization, distillation or nutrition of steam turbines.

The principle of operation of the Sun Fuel system.

The liquid can be stored in uninsulated housekeeping houses, circulate through pipelines and is subject to transportation. The researchers conducted 125 cycles and did not find signs of degradation of the substance.

Although the team has already advanced far enough, but they continue to improve the development. In further plans, an increase in the duration of storage, an increase in energy density and temperature during transformation at 80 ° C, improving recycling.

However, the main problem over which scientists work is effective. The existing option absorbs only the radiation of the ultraviolet and the blue spectrum, which accounts for only 5% of the available solar energy.

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