Solar energy is in a strategic position among renewable energy sources. Scientists made a discovery that could change the course of the future in this important energy technology. Accordingly, the storage problem, which is one of the most important problems in solar energy technology, is becoming history.
Long-term storage step in solar technology
According to scientists, solar energy is one of the guarantees of our future. This unique resource has already changed countries’ energy strategy plans. However, this energy also has some negative properties.
The most important of these negative features is that solar energy cannot be stored for a long time. Another important problem is that the current solar energy panels cannot use all solar energy.
Scientists, on the other hand, found a way to store solar energy for 18 years thanks to a special liquid they developed. Scientists from the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology discovered this developed fluid in 2018. Researchers named the liquid, which has been used for more than a year, as solar thermal fuel.
The solar energy storage system in which this fuel is used, MOST, operates in a circular manner. A pump passes solar thermal fuel through transparent pipes. Sunlight comes into contact with this fuel and solar energy is trapped inside this fuel like a rechargeable battery.
Even when this special liquid reaches room temperature, it continues to keep the solar energy inside. Later, a liquid catalyst system developed by the research team is used to use energy. This system heats the liquid up to 63 degrees Celsius. Thus, the energy coming back to the same molecular structure becomes ready for use.
The Chalmers University research team launched a project in late 2020. With this project, commercial trials are being made for the storage and use of energy. The project, which received a 4.3 million euro grant from the EU, will last 3.5 years. The researchers say that this new solar storage system will enter commercial use within 10 years.
Although the information about this storage unit is detailed, we do not know the structure of the fluid that holds the energy in it. The researchers claim that with this fluid, they solved the solar energy storage problem. However, humanity needs to make solar panels more useful for now. Unfortunately, with current panel technologies, we can keep between 5 and 30 percent of the energy.