House Tablet

Find The Best Solar Deals In Australia

  • 3 Free, No Obligation, Solar Quotes
  • From Fully Qualified Installers
  • With 1000’s of Customer Reviews
  • Competing for Your Business
Finn Peacock Caricature

Ready for some quotes? Enter your postcode now

Research discovers new way to store solar power

22nd Jul 2011

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a new way to store solar energy in a process that makes its use more flexible for consumers.

A team of researchers has used carbon nanotubes to store the energy for an indefinite amount of time.

The method promises to keep solar energy 'on tap,' ready to be used when it is needed year round, an approach made possible by storing the heat from the sun in chemical form.

Instead of converting it directly into electricity, or keeping it confined within an insulated container as pure heat, chemical storage affords some unique advantages.

Once trapped within the carbon nanotubes, the energy does not deplete, meaning long term storage is now possible.

Previously this method was deemed impractical due to inefficient chemical components that needed constant renewal and the expense of materials, such as the element ruthenium.

The breakthrough came last year when MIT researchers discovered more suitable materials that could be used in the process without the high cost.

Carbon nanotubes are small, cylindrical pieces of a carbon compound.

The key is to structure the molecules in a way that vastly increases the available storage space.

MIT postdoc Alexie Kolpak says that the potential energy capacity is on par with that of a lithium-ion battery.

A great deal of the interest in thermo-chemical storage comes from the potential to harness energy in addition to storing it in a single process.

Associate professor Jeffrey Grossman says, "You’ve got a material that both converts and stores energy. It’s robust, it doesn’t degrade, and it’s cheap."

For electricity and heating applications, there still remains the need to convert the energy, similar to the way in which solar panels make the energy ready to be used in power systems.

The team is said to be continuing research in the field by exploring the possibilities afforded by applying the process to new materials.

Affordability and efficiency are two critical issues facing renewable energy technologies.

Global research and development efforts both within the academic community and in the private sector are necessary to make clean energy technology accessible to the world at large.

This is particularly a concern in many developing nations where solar energy infrastructure is currently lacking.

Solar technology development is seeing a dramatic upswing as more and more governments move towards sustainable clean energy on an unprecedented scale.

Australians can expect solar energy to increase in efficiency and popularity as more advanced technology arrives on our shores, in addition to the advancements being made at home.

Solar Power News Categories

Government Rebate & Regulations
Solar Power & Technology

More Solar Power & Technology

Australia to be a part of huge Asian renewable energy growth
SunPower steps up to make solar more affordable
Canberra makes strides toward carbon neutrality
GTM puts solar's massive growth in perspective
Examining Australia's falling solar PV rooftop prices
Australia's shift toward renewable energy picks up the pace
Australia shines at solar decathlon
University of Queensland tapped as lead researcher on massive solar project
100 per cent renewable energy is possible in 10 years, environmental group says
Climate Commission releases report on solar progress
Aussie government actually shows spine for solar power
Be gone, skeptics: One million solar installations and counting
Australia embarks on its greatest solar journey ever
Australia looks to solar thermal for commercial success
Solar power helps King Island reach 100% sustainability
Australians 'heavy supporters of solar power'
Mildura solar plant officially unveiled
Solar power trumps other renewables in Australian minds
Sunshine Coast solar farm "fantastic initiative"
Sunshine Coast cashes in on namesake with solar plans
Energy storage 'could maximise solar power utility'
Solar powered family car - a world first?
Code of conduct for solar installers in the works
'Stop punishing households' for solar PV
Australian solar companies 'adjusting well'
Australian mining 'next solar frontier'
"Rooftop revolution" underway across Australia
Global PV market emerging from sluggish period
Royalla solar farm receives final approval
Leadership challenge a "debacle" for Australian solar power
Solar power giving global renewables a helping hand
Australia's largest CPV solar power plant up and running
Renewable energy misinformation "staggering"
CEC: Don't underestimate consumer desire for solar
Setting energy efficient examples on TV
Solar PV brightening up household bills
World's largest solar powered boat on the move
Climate change is heating up
The global solar power shift
New solar tech win for NSW
Industry orgs praise City of Sydney solar efforts
Clean Energy Council supports Regional Renewables scheme
Asian nations emerging as PV leaders
Solar PV demand continues to grow
Regional areas of Australia to receive more renewables
Australia's significant renewable energy growth
Solar panel reprieve for Queensland
New funding for solar research
Find love with sustainable speed dating
New Victorian solar power deal