When assistant professor of technology, Dr. Bijandra Kumar, joined Elizabeth City State University in September 2017, he brought with him research on the cutting edge of sustainable technology.
Kumar’s goal as an academic researcher is to find the most efficient means to use renewable energy such as solar power. Storing the collected energy has been a challenge, he says.
“My work is to find a way to store energy,” said Kumar.
Kumar’s research was recently published in “The Journal of Material Chemistry-A,” outlining a method of solar energy storage using carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the most abundant greenhouse gases.
All over the country solar farms are being erected in an effort to capture the seemingly endless supply of energy provided by the sun. However, a basic problem exists; there is no consistency in the sun’s radiance. Night time, for example, there is no energy input so the solution is efficient storage.
In nature, plants take in water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight, turn them into glucose and oxygen and store them for later use. While this natural process is slow, Kumar says the same method can be used to store solar energy for human consumption, but in a fast manner.
Kumar’s challenge then is to find a method that is not only providing efficient storage for the solar energy, but is also cost effective.
“We must use inexpensive materials and find efficient methods,” he said of making the method cost effective.
So will Kumar’s work and other researchers like him, find efficient and inexpensive solutions to the problem of solar energy storage?
“In our lifetime,” he says, “we will be primarily dependent on renewable energy.”