Salt, Bricks and Air Show Promise as Energy-Storage Media

Utilities may begin using salt, bricks and air to supplement their renewable energy-storage capabilities in the future. This unorthodox technique could help bridge the gap between peak green-energy production hours and peak consumption hours.

Although solar and wind are great sources of renewable energy, their peak production hours rarely coincide with peak consumption hours, resulting in a gap that sees green-energy production reach its peak when energy consumption by homes, businesses and manufacturers is low. Energy storage helps utilities store the excess energy generated when energy consumption is low before releasing it into the grid as needed, allowing users to purchase cheap and clean off-peak energy. With many countries investing heavily in solar and wind energy, massive conventional batteries have been the main options for stationary storage.

There is growing interest in an unconventional energy-storage technique that stores energy in the form of heat rather than electricity using easy-to-find ingredients such as bricks and sand, which are superior at holding heat. With several new startups working to industrialize the process and an Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)-run conference looking to discuss thermal batteries later this month, “heat storage” is becoming especially popular in the United Kingdom. Although heat energy is responsible for providing more than 50% of the total energy used by modern industry, IMechE notes that hydrogen and electric batteries have taken the spotlight.

One of the processes slated to be discussed at the upcoming meeting will feature vertical salt-filled tanks installed at locations that require heat. Dubbed “Heatcube,” the technique is the brainchild of Norwegian company Kyoto Group. These salt tanks can be charged and heated up with electricity during low consumption hours and can hold heat at high temperatures of up to 500⁰ C.

Kyoto Group’s chief technology officer Bjarke Buchbjerg notes that the excitement for electric vehicle batteries seems to have made people forget that industries still have massive demand for heat that simply cannot come from electrical batteries. According to Buchbjerg, industrial heat is a key issue that can no longer be ignored.

In California, a company called Rondo claims to have developed a heat battery from bricks capable of storing energy at half the cost of both chemical batteries and green hydrogen. Rondo’s made-from-bricks batteries can collect green energy and convert it into heat, allowing the bricks to be heated to up to 1,500⁰ C and store energy with less than 1% daily energy loss.

Some UK companies are also turning to compressed air to store excess energy. Highview Power, for instance, purchased a heating system that uses super-cooled liquid air to store enough energy for around 50,000 homes in five hours. Highview has now partnered with energy firm Ørsted to figure out how to combine wind energy with energy storage.

As attention goes to coming up with more cost-effective ways to store green energy, some enterprises like Correlate Energy Corp. (OTCQB: CIPI) are bringing innovative ways to make the decentralized generation of energy more available and accessible.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Correlate Energy Corp. (OTCQB: CIPI) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CIPI

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