Till today people knew that solar energy can be stored in the presence of sunlight but scientists have found a way to generate solar power in the dark. Researchers from MIT and Harvard used nanotubes to absorb heat from the sun and store solar energy for later use.
First solar cell was discovered in 1883 by Charles Fritts who showed us the way to store solar energy using solar panel. When sunlight falls on solar panel, electrons are emitted out from the panel’s surface and by using this phenomenon Fritts was able to store solar energy.
Team from MIT and Harvard have found a solution to this. They successfully created molecules known as photoswitches that absorb energy and switch from one form to another, these switches remain stable in this new form for a longer period of time.
“For solar cooking, one would leave the device out in the sun during the day,” says Kucharski. “One design we have for such an application is purely gravity driven – the material flows from one tank to another. The flow rate is restricted so that it’s exposed to the sun long enough that it gets fully charged. Then, when it’s time to cook dinner, after the sun is down, the flow direction is reversed, again driven by gravity, and the opposite side of the setup is used as the cooking surface.”
“As the material flows back to the first tank, it passes by an immobilized catalyst which triggers the energy-releasing process, heating the cooking surface up,” he adds.
Kucharski said “the MIT and Harvard team is now investigating other photoswitching molecules and substrates, with the aim of designing a system that absorbs more of the sun’s energy and also can be more practically scaled up.”
This breakthrough could help in solving one of the major problem of electric power generation. This new technique will produce sufficient energy for cooking, heating and some industrial processes.