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Solids storage

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Technology Description

Energy is used to heat a solid storage medium, such as rocks, pebbles, metals or other refractory materials, without changing its phase, where it is stored as heat and used as heat or electricity when needed. The storage unit is packed with the solid storage medium through which a heat transfer fluid is circulated and can be used up to high temperatures (around 600°C). Solid storage media are considered mainly for cost reasons, as the cost of an equivalent mass of solid materials can be one or even two orders of magnitude lower than that of molten salts. Some solid storage materials also have a wider operating temperature range, freezing is not an issue, evaporation or leakage is not a problem. However, heating the solid is usually more difficult than heating a liquid such as a molten salt. A wide range of materials can be used as solid media storage. Any suitable candidate materials must be chemically and thermally stable and should be applicable over a wide temperature range. The maximum application temperature depends on the specific material and can be over 1000°C for ceramics such as magnesia bricks.

Relevance for Net Zero

A higher integration of variable renewable energy will increase the need of flexibility and energy storage. While Li-ion batteries have been largely deployed, issues around costs and a more limited lithium availability, call for alternative technologies. In addition, sometimes excess heat may be available.

Key Countries

Israel, United States

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