An Iron Molecule Could be the Key to More Affordable Solar Energy
Researchers at the Lund University of Sweden have succeeded in creating an iron molecule that may make solar energy production more affordable. Solar energy is produced through technology that uses molecules containing metals to absorb solar rays and convert them into energy. These metals are very expensive because they are rare. Iron, however, is found commonly in the earth and is therefore much cheaper. If iron-based molecules can be developed and incorporated into the technology used to produce solar energy, costs are likely to be reduced.
The new developments are unique because researchers were able to optimize the molecular structure around the iron atom, which allows the new iron molecule to absorb and use solar light for a long enough time for it to react with another molecule. In addition, the new iron molecule can glow for a long enough time to be observable by the naked eye at room temperature.
Solar Energy Gaining Even Greater Momentum
The members of the research team said that they were actually quite surprised at the pace of their findings. Lund University Chemistry Department Professor Kenneth Wärnmark said that they had expected to spend a decade conducting this research, but that they reached their goal in just over half the time.
While harnessing the rays of the sun can produce enough energy electricity to support entire continents, solar technology and infrastructure must be cost-beneficial for governments to promote it and consumers to embrace it. This achievement may serve as a milestone in the effort to effectively use renewable energy sources in general and to promote solar energy in particular through a realistic and sustainable vision.