An innovator thermal battery developed by researchers at Curtin University will be key to a system of solar energy capable of producing electricity at night.
The objective is to rival fossil fuels as a viable energy source for commercial and heavy industries around the world, including mining operations.
Professor Craig Buckley said that the thermal battery was part of the system concentrated solar energy (CSP) developed by United Sun Systems, which requires a battery to store and release energy to allow the generation of solar energy without interruptions.
"The storage has long been an obstacle for renewable energy, but our prototype thermal battery is capable of storing and, as needed, release solar energy without depending on sunlight at all times, "said Professor Buckley.
The battery uses a metal hydride or high temperature metallic carbonate as a heat storage medium and a low temperature gas storage vessel for storing hydrogen or carbon dioxide.
At night, or with cloudy skies, the hydrogen or carbon dioxide are released from the gas storage vessel and are absorbed by the metal at higher temperature to form a metal hydride / metal carbonate, which produces the heat used to generate electricity.
While a lithium battery stores electrical energy that can be used to provide electricity when the sun does not shine, this thermal battery stores the heat of concentrated thermal solar energy, which can be used when the sun does not shine to operate a turbine to produce electricity.
The research aims to develop a new technology to integrate the storage of thermochemical energy through a thermal battery in a parabolic dish system type Dish-Stirling.
A plate-Stirling system can provide up to 46 kW of power and it is ideal for boosting remote industries that require a lot of energy, such as mines, as it provides power on demand and as needed. Several dishes can be implemented depending on the energy requirements of the site.
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