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A novel application of carbon nanotubes, developed by MIT researchers, shows promise as an innovative approach to storing solar energy for use whenever it's needed.
Not only is this new chemical system less expensive than the earlier ruthenium-containing compound, but it also is vastly more efficient at storing energy in a given amount of space -- about 10,000 times higher in volumetric energy density, Kolpak says -- making its energy density comparable to lithium-ion batteries. By using nanofabrication methods, "you can control [the molecules'] interactions, increasing the amount of energy they can store and the length of time for which they can store it -- and most importantly, you can control both independently," she says