One of the drawbacks of current solar technology is the inability to store energy under dark conditions. A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington has addressed this limitation by developing an energy cell that can store large-scale solar energy even when it’s dark.
The UT Arlington team developed an all-vanadium photo-electrochemical flow cell that allows for efficient and large-scale solar energy storage even at nighttime. According the researchers, release of the stored electrons under dark conditions continues solar energy storage, thus allowing for storage around the clock.
The goal of the research, which was funded by a 2013 National Science Foundation $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development grant, was to improve the way solar energy is captured, stored and transmitted for use. The research is detailed in the paper, “Reversible Electron Storage in an All-Vanadium Photoelectrochemical Storage Cell: Synergy between Vanadium Redox and Hybrid Photocatalyst,” in the most recent edition of the American Chemical Society journal ACS Catalysis.
The team is currently working on a larger prototype.
As solar energy becomes more widespread, the energy storage market is poised for significant growth.