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Researchers Discover How To Generate Solar Power In Dark

Update Date: Apr 16, 2014 10:15 AM EDT

Researchers have finally found a way to use nanotubes to absorb heat form the sun and store solar energy for later use. 

The discovery according to researchers, might prove to be a breakthrough in expanding the use of solar power, especially in areas that require heat such as heating buildings, cooking or powering heat-based industrial process. 

"It could change the game, since it makes the sun's energy, in the form of heat, storable and distributable," said Jeffrey Grossman, co-author of the study and associate professor of power and engineering at MIT, in the press release.

Researchers demonstrated that nanotubes carrying a high density of azobenzene chromophores bind closely together, with chromophores assembling between each other. The connect strains the molecules doubling the energy setup stored. 

"The most notable aspects are the factor of two increase in energy storage and the ability to operate the system through more than 2000 cycles without significant degradation," Kasper Moth-Poulsen, who studies thermal fuels at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, said according to FH

Researchers added that they were looking to get nanotubes to charge solar energy as quickly as possible. 

"One target that seems within reach is to be able to charge enough fuel during a single day's sunlight hours to cook a dinner for a family," said lead author of the paper Timothy Kucharski, a postdoc at MIT and Harvard, in the press release.

The results of the study have been documented in the paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

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