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An international research team developed a novel system that can store solar energy in liquid form for 18 years and release it when needed, the Independent reported.
Named molecular solar thermal energy storage (MOST), the technology uses a specially designed molecule of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, scientists explained in a new study.
Once it comes into contact with sunlight, the molecule changes into an energy-rich isomer, which can be stored in liquid form for years, according to New Atlas.
The team then developed a compact thermoelectric generator to turn that heat into electricity.
“The generator is an ultra-thin chip that could be integrated into electronics such as headphones, smartwatches and telephones,” said co-author Zhihang Wang
Wang acknowledged that the current output generated by the chip is very small but added that the results of the system were “very promising.”
Researchers hope that MOST will lead to self-charging electronics that use stored solar energy on demand. The system also holds the potential to change the production of renewable and emissions-free energy.
“This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy,” said lead author Kasper Moth-Poulsen