The efficient harvesting of solar energy is critical to overcome the current reliance on fossil fuels, one of the main contributors to global warming. The importance of urgent action was brought out by the expectations raised in the last COP25 United Nations Conference, despite the disappointing agreements reached. While a lot of attention is being placed on photovoltaic plants, only thermal solar energy displays real prospect for large-scale energy storage, required to overcome the intrinsic intermittency of solar energy. Thermochemical energy storage consists in using the thermal energy produced by the sun to drive a reversible chemical reaction. Thus, during periods of high solar insolation solar energy can be essentially stored. When electricity is required, the reverse reaction is triggered to release the stored chemical energy. By using reactions based on inexpensive reactants, cheap and affordable energy can be produced even after sunset.
Speaker: Pedro E. Sánchez Jiménez, Fulbright Visting Scholar at Department of Materials Science and Engineering, School of Engineering Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Associate Professor at The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Institute of Materials Science (ICMS).