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SJTU Team Develops Solar-thermal Energy Storage Materials & Technology

November 22, 2017      Author:

Recently, the internationally renowned academic journal the Nature Communications published the latest research results of Deng Tao and his team from SJTU School of Materials Science and Engineering in the field of solar-thermal energy storage. That is another innovative breakthrough made by the team in the field of new thermal materials research following the achievements of Nature Energy, Advanced Materials, and Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). SJTU is the first author of this article and the only author of correspondence.

Currently, solar-thermal energy storage within phase-change materials relies on adding high thermal-conductivity fillers to improve the thermal-diffusion-based charging rate, which often leads to limited enhancement of charging speed and sacrificed energy storage capacity. Here we report the exploration of a magnetically enhanced photon-transport-based charging approach, which enables the dynamic tuning of the distribution of optical absorbers dispersed within phase-change materials, to simultaneously achieve fast charging rates, large phase-change enthalpy, and high solar-thermal energy conversion efficiency. Compared with conventional thermal charging, the optical charging strategy improves the charging rate by more than 270% and triples the amount of overall stored thermal energy. This superior performance results from the distinct step-by-step photon-transport charging mechanism and the increased latent heat storage through magnetic manipulation of the dynamic distribution of optical absorbers.

The research work was supported by such projects as National Key Research and Development Program (No. 2017YFB0406100), National Natural Science Foundation of China (51403127, 51521004, 51420105009, 21401129) and Shanghai Chenguang Talent Program (15CG06).    

Article Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01618-w