"Since the 1970s, chemists have worked on storing solar energy in molecules that change state in response to light. These photoactive molecules could be the ideal solar fuel, as the right material should be transportable, affordable, and rechargeable. Unfortunately, scientists haven’t had much success. One of the best examples in recent years, tetracarbonly-diruthenium fulvalene, requires the use of ruthenium, which is rare and expensive.
"A prototype solar device has been unveiled which mimics plant life, turning the Sun's energy into fuel. The machine uses the Sun's rays and a metal oxide called ceria to break down carbon dioxide or water into fuels which can be stored and transported." | more
"Walk barefoot on an asphalt road and you'll soon realize how good the substance is at storing solar heat – the heat-storing qualities of roadways has even been put forward as an explanation as to why cities tend to be warmer than surrounding rural areas. Not content to see all that heat going to waste, researchers from the University of Rhode Island (URI) want to put it to use in a system that harvests solar heat from the road to melt ice, heat buildings, or to create electricity." | more
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