FP TrendingDec 14, 2020 18:13:29 IST
Researchers from Lancaster University are studying a crystalline material that has properties which allow it to capture energy from the Sun. According to a statement released by the university, the energy captured by the particle can be stored for several months at room temperature and can subsequently be released on demand in the form of heat. Researchers believe that material could be used to capture solar energy during the summers and then store it for use in winter when there is a scarcity of solar energy.
As per the statement, the development could prove beneficial for applications such as heating systems in off-grid areas or remote locations and also as an environmentally-friendly alternative.
The material is based on a type of ‘metal-organic framework’ (MOF) which consists of a network of metal ions linked by carbon-based molecules to form three dimensional structures. These MOFs are porous and thus can form composite materials by hosting other small molecules within the structures.
Speaking about the development, Dr John Griffin, Principal Investigator of the study said that the material functions a bit like phase change materials which are used to supply heat in hand warmers. However, unlike hand warmers which need to be heated, this material captures free energy directly from the sun. And since it has no moving or electronic parts, no losses are involved.
Joint investigator Dr Nathan Halcovitch added their approach highlights the fact that there are multiple ways to try to optimise the materials either by changing the photoswitch itself, or the porous host framework. The results of the study has been published in the journal Chemistry of Materials.