MIT Material Stores Solar Energy And Releases It As Heat On Demand

The sun is constantly throwing out energy when it is in the sky. The catch is that to use that energy during a storm or at night, we need a way to store the energy for later. MIT has invented a new material that makes it possible to store solar energy and then release that energy as heat on demand.

The big deal with this solar energy is that it doesn't involve the use of batteries. The storage of the solar energy comes in the form of a chemical reaction in the new material. The material is in the form of a transparent polymer film that could be used in multiple applications.

For instance, the film could be used in a car windshield that could remove ice or a layer inside a jacket to keep people warm in cold temperatures outdoors. The creation of the material was made possible thanks to the use of a molecule that exists in two states and one of the states is able to store lots of energy.

The material is a solar thermal fuel or STF. In the case of the STF MIT has invented, it's a functional solid material whereas past STF materials were only active in a liquid phase suspension. The material is able to remain charged for several days. For now, the film only releases bursts of heat at about 10C higher than the surrounding environment.

SOURCE: Extremetech