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US Researchers To Improve Solar Energy Storage Methods, Energy Storage Efficiency Of 30%
- Jan 11, 2018 -

Solar energy is an inexhaustible source of clean energy, but to take full advantage of solar energy, the key issue of how to store solar energy at a lower cost for immediate use needs to be addressed. A team from Stanford University in the United States reported on October 31 that they have improved their method of storing solar energy by decomposing water molecules to achieve a 30% energy storage efficiency for this method, which is by far the most efficient of its kind.

The scientific principle involved in this method is not complicated: firstly, the solar cells are used to decompose water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, and then release the chemical energy stored in the above process when needed, by means of recombining the generated oxygen and hydrogen Generate water, it can also be in the internal combustion engine to burn hydrogen.

This principle of energy storage has long been proposed, but how to make it an efficient industrial process is a challenge. An interdisciplinary team at Stanford University published a paper in the journal Nature Communications in the UK that said they have made three improvements to the above approach. First, the triple junction solar cells they use are different from conventional silicon-based solar cells. Made of three unusual semiconductor materials, this solar cell absorbs blue, green and red light in the sun sequentially, increasing the efficiency of the sun's light energy into electrical energy to 39%, while conventional silicon-based solar cells The photoelectric conversion efficiency of only about 20%.

Second, the researchers focused on improving the catalyst used to break down water molecules, dramatically increasing the catalytic efficiency. In addition, they combined two identical electrolysers to react simultaneously to produce twice as much hydrogen, a procedure that previously had only one electrolysis unit. Experiments show that the improved energy storage efficiency of this method reaches 30%, exceeding the highest record of 24.4% of the industry's similar methods.

Thomas Jalamilo, an associate professor of chemical engineering and photonics at Stanford University, said the result is one step closer to developing a practical and sustainable industrial process that disassembles water as an energy storage technology. Next they will continue to study how Achieve similar energy storage efficiency with lower cost materials and devices.