A novel way to farm and store solar heat has been developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers. It is the first solid material that can chemically store and release heat and may find its use in industrial and consumer products.
The material is a new type of polymer film, which can soak energy from the sun in the day and store it to be used later. The researchers said that the polymer material can prove quite beneficial as the sun’s energy is available for half of the day. This material will immensely useful in places where there is The researchers have used a new chemical process to develop the material. Earlier also efforts have been made to store heat from the sun using solar thermal fuels, but they were only usable as liquid solutions. As a result, they did not turn out to be great for use for everyday needs.
But a solid polymer is a different thing, as it can be easily used in many products and industrial processes. The new solar thermal fuel has been designed using chemical compounds called azobenzenes, which changes at molecular level owing to the sun’s energy and can maintain their charge indefinitely. A stimulus is needed to discharge the stored heat. Using the new polymer, the heat remains stored as a chemical change rather than by itself. The process allows the energy to be trapped for ever until a stimulus is triggered to release the heat. Currently, the material can warm up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit across its surface. The new polymer is the first solar fuel to be in solid-state. The material as per the researchers has a lot of uses. The MIT researchers will continue their work on the film in order to improve their capacity and color.