One of the most significant challenges facing modern society is to balance the growing demand for power with the dwindling supply of fossil fuels, our primary energy supply. Meeting this challenge will require a combined approach ranging from making better and more efficient use of existing resources, improving the cost and energy efficiency of existing processes, developing new processes and technologies and exploring alternative sources of power.
Scientists researching future energy solutions use Diamond’s facilities to develop and refine new energy technologies.
With 27% of global energy consumption occurring in the residential sector, harvesting and storing thermal energy is increasingly important.
A promising technology is based on phase-change materials (PCMs) that absorb or release large amounts of heat when they change state, e.g. from solid to liquid.
PCMs incorporated into building materials could remove excess heat during the day and release it at night, with minimum carbon emissions. One approach in stabilising PCMs for use is nanoscale confinement in core-shell structures.
In theory, sufficient energy reaches the earth’s surface from the sun to meet all of our foreseeable energy needs in a sustainable manner. In practice, the best currently available technology for converting solar energy into electricity – the silicon photovoltaic cell - is very expensive and intrinsically difficult to manufacture on a large scale. Organic based photovoltaics (OPV) that can be manufactured using environmentally friendly materials in low temperature, low cost continuous processes could make a significant contribution to total energy demands.Read more...
Over recent years we have seen a global move towards renewable energy not only to support increased demand for energy but also to reduce the production of carbon dioxide, a common pollutant from burning fossil fuels. Engineers and scientists are continually looking at ways to store this energy during periods of low user consumption (day-time) and to maximise its usage during periods of high demand (evening-time).Read more...
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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