Hybrid chromophore/template nanostructures: A customizable platform material for solar energy storage and conversion
Author(s)Kolpak, Alexie M.; Grossman, Jeffrey C.
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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.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Journal of Chemical Physics
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Kolpak, Alexie M., and Jeffrey C. Grossman. “Hybrid Chromophore/template Nanostructures: A Customizable Platform Material for Solar Energy Storage and Conversion.” The Journal of Chemical Physics 138.3 (2013): 034303. ©2013 American Institute of Physics
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