DFG supports new projects in molecular solar energy storage
Efficient storage of solar energy is the key challenge in our transition to a renewable energy system. Besides the conventional solutions, such as solar cells and batteries, innovative chemical concepts for energy storage may open new fields of application. For example, intramolecular reactions hold the potential to fuse solar energy conversion and storage in a single molecule. Such ‘unimolecular’ solar fuels may provide energy densities that are comparable to state-of-the-art battery technologies.
Aiming at the development of new unimolecular storage systems, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) now supports two joint projects run by five research groups at the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy. The groups of Prof. Julien Bachmann, Prof. Dirk Guldi, Prof. Andreas Hirsch, Prof. Jörg Libuda, und Priv.-Doz. Christian Papp from Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry receive funds of more than 1 Mio EUR to study new energy storage systems based on the ‘norbornadiene-quadricyclane’ couple. In the planned work, the groups will explore new molecules and processes to better control the energy release processes. Here, one visionary goal is the direct conversion of chemical to electrical energy, a process that could eventually enable the design of an ‘energy storing solar cell’.