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Nov 20, 2019

New hybrid device can both capture and store solar energy

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a new device that can both efficiently capture solar energy and store it until it is needed, offering promise for applications ranging from power generation to distillation and desalination.

Unlike and , which rely on photovoltaic technology for the direct generation of electricity, the hybrid device captures heat from the sun and stores it as . It addresses some of the issues that have stalled wider-scale adoption of solar power, suggesting an avenue for using around-the-clock, despite limited sunlight hours, cloudy days and other constraints.

The work, described in a paper published Wednesday in Joule, combines molecular energy and latent heat storage to produce an integrated harvesting and for potential 24/7 operation. The researchers report a harvesting efficiency of 73% at small-scale operation and as high as 90% at large-scale operation.

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