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Shape-Shifting Chemical for Solar Battery

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Nowadays, one thing is very important in our day to day life and that is electricity. Electricity powers our device, obviously but from where did that come? two third of the electricity used in the United States comes which comes from plants fueled by fossil fuels also coal, oil, or natural gas. Solar energy produces just 1.3 percent of electricity. So energy from the sun can easily power our every need or device. We need to store it for use when the sun doesn’t shine or at night. Researchers in Sweden now think they might have a way to do just that.

Researcher`s work

Kasper Moth-Poulsen is a chemical Engineer, as He is an engineer, He uses chemistry and physics to design solutions to problems. He works at Charmers University of technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He teamed up with other researchers in Sweden and Spain to tackle the problem of storing energy from the sun. Their solution is to store that energy inside the blonds of molecules that have been suspended in a liquid. Molecules consist of two or more atoms. Those atoms share electrons through bonds that hold them together.

Different types of molecule`s shapes

There are different types of molecules that have distinct 3-D shapes. For example, methane is shaped like a three-sided pyramid called a tetrahedron (The-true-HE-run). Other molecules have different shapes. If we add energy to a molecule, it can alter its shape. New bonds may form between its atoms. That may hold different amounts of energy. That energy can become trapped within those new bonds. That`s the key to the new solar-energy battery.

About

It isn’t new something that using bonds inside a molecule to store solar energy. Moth-Poulsen`s group had been working on it for years. But the molecules it initially worked with contained a rare and pricey metal called ruthenium (Roo-THEE-nee-um). So the researchers needed a less costly alternative. For more, they turned to work by other chemists. Then they found a promising candidate called norbornadiene (Nor-BORN-uh-DY-een). It is mostly made up of carbon and hydrogen. These atoms are found in all living things. This means these molecules should be cheap and easy to make.

Still, there was a problem

Yet there is a problem. This chemical could absorb only ultraviolet light which is a small part of the sun`s light. So there was a need to absorb more wavelengths of sunlight. So to make the molecule more useful, the researchers pinched it in such a way that it would absorb more wavelengths of sunlight. That innovation sounds easy. For that, it took seven years to pull off. So now that molecule was able to absorb energy not only in the form UV but also in the form of blue and green light. One end of this molecule reacts to this light. As it absorbs this energy, the molecule snaps into a new shape. There are new bonds between its atoms traps that energy. So they hold it tight, even after the molecule cools to room temperature. But storing energy isn’t useful unless you can release that energy when you need it. So Moth-Poulsen`s team found a way to get its molecule to release the stored energy as heat.

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