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Efficiency Limit of Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Collecting Devices

Journal article
Authors Karl Börjesson
Anders Lennartson
Kasper Moth-Poulsen
Published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Volume 1
Issue 6
Pages 585-590
ISSN 2168-0485
Publication year 2013
Published at
Pages 585-590
Language en
Keywords Molecular solar thermal, Energy efficiency, Energy storage, Solar, thermal, Solar energy, Energy conversion, Maximum solar, energy-conversion efficiency, trifluoromethyl-substituted norbornadiene, donor-acceptor norbornadiene, photochemical up-conversion, detailed balance limit, photoresponsive, polymers, storage, system, moieties, cells, (fulvalene)tetracarbonyldiruthenium
Subject categories Chemical Sciences


As a larger fraction of energy is based on solar energy an other renewable energy sources, technologies for energy storage and conversion is becoming, increasingly important Molecular solar thermal (MOST) is a concept for long-term storage of solar energy in molecules and release of the energy as heat with full regeneration of the initial materials The process is inherently closed cycle and emission free. No assessment of the fundamental efficiency limits of the technology has been made. In this report, I efficiency limits and fundamental factors for molecular design of molecular solar thermal systems are discussed. Maximum efficiencies and potential temperature gradients are estimated using a number of basic assumptions on desired storage lifetimes and energy losses. The predicted maximum solar energy conversion efficiency is 10.6% at a S-1-S-0 gap of 1.89 eV. At this S-1-S-0 gap, the stored energy is able to create temperature differences of similar to 300 degrees C. Several existing systems have an energy storage density in line with the predicted maximum one but do so at larger than optimal S-1-S-0 gaps.

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