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Researchers from the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) and Friedrich Schiller University have developed a copper complex-based chemical system for molecularly storing solar energy for at least 14 hours. The system decouples photochemical processes from the day-night cycle, bypassing a barrier that had previously made solar-powered photochemistry unsuitable for continuous industrial production processes.
Previous approaches to the storage of solar energy have been based on solid-state materials. Alternatively, the researchers generated reactive photoredox equivalents on a small molecule, enabling them to not only store the light energy for at least 14 hours, but to regenerate it when needed.