German scientists to develop energy-storing solar cells

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Scientists at Germany‘s Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) are currently planning to develop an energy-storing solar cell through two different research projects, both of which are funded with more than €1 million by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The new cell is said to be based on a storage system relying on two hydrocarbons: norbornadiene (NBD) and quadricyclane (QC). The system is created when the light hits a norbornadiene molecule, which causes a reaction that transforms the molecule into quadricyclane as a consequence. This process, according to the research team, is able to produce an energy density similar to that of a high-performance battery.

The scientists are now investigating how this process may be used, or further improved upon, to create the aforementioned energy-storing solar cells. A particular emphasis is being placed on the behaviour of photosensitizers and electron acceptors, as well as solvents and magnetic fields within this process.

They are also working on a sub-project, which focuses on the catalytic and electro-chemical release of solar energy stored in strained organic compounds.

“It is even conceivable that stored chemical energy could be converted directly into electrical energy. A vision which would make it possible to construct an ‘energy-storing solar cell,” the research team said.