Azobenzene Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes and Other Templated Photoswitch Molecules for High Energy Density Solar Thermal Fuels

Problem: Large-scale adoption of solar thermal fuels requires enhanced energy storage capacity and thermal stability. Previous solar thermal fuels degraded after only a few cycles of energy conversion and release and/or were composed of expensive, non-abundant elements. Technology: The invention suggests a new approach to the design of high-energy density solar thermal fuels based on combining well-studied photoswitch molecules with carbon nanotubes to increase energy storage capacity and thermal stability of the photoswitch molecules. The novel solar thermal fuel is composed of azobenzene-functionalized carbon nanotubes and can have both volumetric and gravimetric energy densities comparable to that of Li-ion batteries. Christopher Noble

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