Researchers, specifically a chemistry professor named Tom Meyer may have the fix for solar power availability requirements. Solar Energy Storage has been a problem as we need that energy at night or when our electricity demands it. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Professor of Chemistry, Tom Meyer, along with other researchers have a new use for solar energy. They’ve split oxygen and hydrogen at the atomic level, where hydrogen can be burned as a fuel source with water as the waste product.
The water can then be recycled. This hydrogen might be used in say a generator or solar arrays. When the sun sets, your power plant might make chemicals and use this energy as you need it. This is the newest breakthrough in solar energy development.
Just a very small percentage of the US energy comes from solar or wind and it’s intermittent, not steady, not stored. Distributing this energy after initially harvesting it has been difficult due to lack of storage. Enter nano-particle engineering, what is that?
Tom Meyer, a director in this research, which is federally funded, has been working on this. He’s been working to transform solar energy into becoming fuels, for decades. Greg Parsons, a director at the Nanotechnology Initiative at North Carolina State University has helped in this process. His team developed a coating for the nano-particles using titanium dioxide. These extremely thin layers were able to assist and carry the nano-particles away quickly.
The hydrogen, thus far generated is only about 1 percent of sunlight energy. Now, they’ll work on efficiency. If they can obtain 15 percent efficiency, then they’ll have reached the current solar usable energy.
The group has also decided to experiment a little further; they are thinking they can turn carbon dioxide into methanol and back into carbon dioxide again, using the energy during the duration of this process. “Solar energy is one of the most popular methods of renewable energy.” This becomes exciting news for solar energy storage and availability of use.
Rooftop cells gather the sun’s rays and generate electricity, but are dependent upon this source of light to be continuous.
This new research breakthrough is exciting for solar and other realms in the renewable energy businesses. Predictions are that water, wind and solar will supersede nuclear and gas by 2016. By 2018, the world will receive 25 percent of it’s required energy from renewable energy.
Tom Meyer, a researcher has been doing this since the 1970’s. He believes when we can perfect the process to use 10-15 percent of the energy harnessed, then it becomes useful economically. Federal funding for this program has enabled these researchers to continue looking and exploring for this kind of breakthrough. And now it has arrived, with more work to be done to bring it to the lives of Americans and the world.
One hour of sunlight is enough energy for cars, plants (manufacturing) and devices to operate for a year, this fact alone becomes the reason we need to do this. Solar Energy Power and its storage may just be used in our near future 24/7.
By Kim Troike