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EU funds research into solar energy technology

Published by
Energy Global,

In recent years, researchers from Chalmers University have developed a specially designed molecule and an energy system with unique abilities for capturing and storing solar power. Now, an EU project led by Chalmers will develop prototypes of the new technology for larger scale applications, such as heating systems in residential houses. The project has been granted €4.2 million.

In order to make full use of solar energy, it is necessary to store and release it on demand. Researchers from Chalmers University have demonstrated how their Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage System (MOST) can offer a solution to that challenge. This technology could become a vital tool in the conversion to fossil-free energy.

The project has generated great interest worldwide. The MOST system allows solar energy to be captured, stored for up to 18 years, transported without any major losses, and later released as heat. Laboratory results achieved by the researchers are clear, but now more experience is needed to see how MOST can be used in real applications and at a larger scale.

"The goal for this EU-project is to develop prototypes of MOST technology to verify potential for large-scale production, and to improve functionality of the system,” said Kasper Moth-Poulsen, coordinator of the project.

Strong research teams from universities and institutes in Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Spain and Germany will work together to create products suitable for real applications. This will involve developing the technology to become greener, more efficient, and less expensive.

“A very exciting aspect of the project is how we are combining excellent interdisciplinary research in molecule design along with knowledge in hybrid technology for energy capture, heat-release and low-energy building design,” said Kasper Moth-Poulsen.

Advances in the development of MOST technology have so far exceeded all expectations. During preliminary demonstrations at Chalmers’ laboratories, researchers used the technology in a window film to even out the temperature hot days and create a more pleasant indoor climate. Outside the EU project, application of the molecule in blinds and windows has begun through the spin-off company Solartes AB.

“With this funding, the development we can now do in the MOST project may lead to new solar driven and emissions-free solutions for heating in residential and industrial applications. This project is heading into a very important and exciting stage,” said Kasper Moth-Poulsen.

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