Fuel that is recharged with solar energy

In games on November 1, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Fulvalene diruthenium leverages known as process approach, that captures solar energy in the settings and structure of certain molecules is stored and is then released as heat that can be used. Unlike conventional solar thermal systems, which require very effective insulation (and still have losses of heat with the passage of time), these chemicals can store heat and remain stable for years.

Researchers explored this type capable of storing solar thermal properties during the 1970s fuel (20th century), but during those years there were challenges that could not be overcome. No one could find a chemical that was reliable and reversible in their properties easily, i.e. that can change between the two situations required: absorb the sunlight to enter a State and then release heat to return to the previous state. This compound, fulvalene diruthenium, was discovered in 1996, but has the disadvantage of include ruthenium, something rare and expensive, so then it was not practical for widespread energy storage.On the other hand, nobody understood certain how worked the compost what hindered efforts to find a cheaper Variant.

Now, MIT researchers have overcome that obstacle with a combination of theoretical and experimental work that has revealed just how molecule (diruthenium fulvalene) meets its energy storage and subsequent release of heat cycle. This understanding will facilitate and will make it possible to find chemicals similar, more abundant and less costly than ruthenium. During the process, the molecule undergoes a structural transformation while absorbs the sunlight, turning to a State of higher energy which can remain stable indefinitely.Then, by a small addition of heat, or using a catalyst, the chemical compound could return to its original form, and during this process would produce heat release.In practice, the team found that the process is slightly more complicated than this simple theoretical explanation and had overcome numerous events and unexpected behaviour of materials used.

Behavior of Ruthenium during heat loss

Jeffrey Grossman, Professor in the Department of materials science and engineering from MIT, explained achieved progress makes it now possible to produce a “heat rechargeable battery” that repeatedly can store and release heat reflected sunlight or other sources. In principle, said Grossman, with a fuel made from diruthenium fulvalene, when stored heat is released, “may deliver up to 200 ° C, a large number of heat and enough to heat a House or even to run an engine to produce electricity”. In comparison with other methods that also use solar energy, explained: “this system work takes many advantages solar-térmica energy, but stores heat in the form of fuel.”It is reversible and is stable for a long time. In addition, it can be used anywhere, according to the needs of the user. Handling would be as simple as placing fuel Sun, wait the loading process and then use the stored heat. “Then this recharge cycle could be repeated indefinitely by putting the same fuel again under the Sun”.

The problem of scarcity and cost of ruthenium continues to be a simple and economical production of this fuel, brake said Grossman.But now that you understand how works the molecule has been achieved, it should be easier to find other materials presenting the same or similar behaviors.This molecule is a complicated, but has shown that you can be achieved, he added.The next step is to use simulation, chemical intuition and tens of millions of molecules known databases to find other candidates that have structural similarities and likely to present the same behavior.


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