Solar thermal fuels, renewable energy, photoswitch, carbon nanotubes, density functional theory
Clean, renewable, and transportable energy conversion/storage
Large-scale adoption of solar thermal fuels requires enhanced energy storage capacity and thermal stability. Previous solar thermal fuels degraded after only a few cycles of energy conversion and release and/or were composed of expensive, non-abundant elements.
The invention suggests a new approach to the design of high-energy density solar thermal fuels based on combining well-studied photoswitch molecules with carbon nanotubes to increase energy storage capacity and thermal stability of the photoswitch molecules. The novel solar thermal fuel is composed of azobenzene-functionalized carbon nanotubes and can have both volumetric and gravimetric energy densities comparable to that of Li-ion batteries.
US Patent Application 61/479529 filed 4/27/2011
PCT Patent Application PCT/US2012/035379
A. M. Kolpak and J. C. Grossman, “Azobenzene-Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes As High-Energy Density Solar Thermal Fuels,” Nano Letters 11, 3156-3162 (2011).
Last revised: November 15, 2011