Efficiency Limit of Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Collecting Devices
Journal article, 2013

As a larger fraction of energy is based on solar energy an other renewable energy sources, technologies for energy storage and conversion is becoming, increasingly important Molecular solar thermal (MOST) is a concept for long-term storage of solar energy in molecules and release of the energy as heat with full regeneration of the initial materials The process is inherently closed cycle and emission free. No assessment of the fundamental efficiency limits of the technology has been made. In this report, I efficiency limits and fundamental factors for molecular design of molecular solar thermal systems are discussed. Maximum efficiencies and potential temperature gradients are estimated using a number of basic assumptions on desired storage lifetimes and energy losses. The predicted maximum solar energy conversion efficiency is 10.6% at a S-1-S-0 gap of 1.89 eV. At this S-1-S-0 gap, the stored energy is able to create temperature differences of similar to 300 degrees C. Several existing systems have an energy storage density in line with the predicted maximum one but do so at larger than optimal S-1-S-0 gaps.

trifluoromethyl-substituted norbornadiene

Maximum solar


detailed balance limit



Energy conversion

Solar energy



energy-conversion efficiency



Molecular solar thermal

photochemical up-conversion

Energy efficiency

Energy storage


donor-acceptor norbornadiene



Karl Börjesson

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Polymer Technology

Anders Lennartsson

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Polymer Technology

Kasper Moth-Poulsen

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Polymer Technology

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

2168-0485 (eISSN)

Vol. 1 6 585-590

Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage and Conversion

Swedish Research Council (VR) (2011-3613), 2012-01-01 -- 2015-12-31.

Subject Categories

Chemical Sciences

Areas of Advance

Materials Science



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