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Evaluating Dihydroazulene/Vinylheptafulvene Photoswitches for Solar Energy Storage Applications

Journal article
Authors Z. H. Wang
J. Udmark
Karl Börjesson
R. Rodrigues
A. Roffey
M. Abrahamsson
M. B. Nielsen
K. Moth-Poulsen
Published in Chemsuschem
Volume 10
Issue 15
Pages 3049-3055
ISSN 1864-5631
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 3049-3055
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1002/cssc.201700679
Keywords energy conversion, flow systems, photochromism, photolysis, solvent effects, THERMAL FUELS, SYSTEM, DIHYDROAZULENE, CAPACITY, RELEASE
Subject categories Chemical Sciences, Energy Systems


Efficient solar energy storage is a key challenge in striving toward a sustainable future. For this reason, molecules capable of solar energy storage and release through valence isomerization, for so-called molecular solar thermal energy storage (MOST), have been investigated. Energy storage by photo-conversion of the dihydroazulene/vinylheptafulvene (DHA/VHF) photothermal couple has been evaluated. The robust nature of this system is determined through multiple energy storage and release cycles at elevated temperatures in three different solvents. In a nonpolar solvent such as toluene, the DHA/VHF system can be cycled more than 70 times with less than 0.01% degradation per cycle. Moreover, the [Cu(CH(3)CN4] P-6-catalyzed conversion of VHF into DHA was demonstrated in a flow reactor. The performance of the DHA/VHF couple was also evaluated in prototype photoconversion devices, both in the laboratory by using a flow chip under simulated sunlight and under outdoor conditions by using a parabolic mirror. Device experiments demonstrated a solar energy storage efficiency of up to 0.13% in the chip device and up to 0.02% in the parabolic collector. Avenues for future improvements and optimization of the system are also discussed.

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