Author(s): Kolpak AM, Grossman JC
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Challenges with cost, cyclability, and/or low energy density have largely prevented the development of solar thermal fuels, a potentially attractive alternative energy technology based on molecules that can capture and store solar energy as latent heat in a closed cycle. In this paper, we present a set of novel hybrid photoisomer/template solar thermal fuels that can potentially circumvent these challenges. Using first-principles computations, we demonstrate that these fuels, composed of organic photoisomers bound to inexpensive carbon-based templates, can reversibly store solar energy at densities comparable to Li-ion batteries. Furthermore, we show that variation of the template material in combination with the photoisomer can be used to optimize many of the key performance metrics of the fuel-i.e., the energy density, the storage lifetime, the temperature of the output heat, and the efficiency of the solar-to-heat conversion. Our work suggests that the solar thermal fuels concept can be translated into a practical and highly customizable energy storage and conversion technology.
This article was published in J Chem Phys
and referenced in Journal of Architectural Engineering Technology