There is an urgent need for alternative compact technologies that can derive and store energy from the sun, especially the large amount of solar heat that is not effectively used for power generation. Here, we report a combination of solution- and neat-film-based molecular solar thermal (MOST) systems, where solar energy can be stored as chemical energy and released as heat, with microfabricated thermoelectric generators to produce electricity when solar radiation is not available.
The photophysical properties of two MOST couples are characterized both in liquid with a catalytical cycling setup and in a phase-interconvertible neat film. Their suitable photophysical properties let us combine them individually with a microelectromechanical ultrathin thermoelectric chip to use the stored solar energy for electrical power generation. The generator can produce, as a proof of concept, a power output of up to 0.1 nW (power output per unit volume up to 1.3 W m−3). Our results demonstrate that such a molecular thermal power generation system has a high potential to store and transfer solar power into electricity and is thus potentially independent of geographical restrictions.
Sustainable energy conversion & storage systems
Chip-scale solar thermal electrical power generation
Zhihang Wang, Zhenhua Wu, Zhiyu Hu, Jessica Orrego-Hernández, Erzhen Mu, Zhao-Yang, Zhang, MartynJevric, Yang Liu, Xuecheng Fu, Fengdan Wang, Tao Li, Kasper Moth-Poulsen
Cell Reports Physical Science, Volume 3, Issue 3, 16 March 2022, 100789