Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another way to store solar and wind energy

UK startup Isentropic Energy has proposed the simplest of thermal energy storage systems, according to Powermag. Two large containers of gas and

gravel, one hot (500C) and one cold (–160C) provide the temperature difference to operate a heat pump. Off-peak surplus wind power or solar energy is used to heat up the contents of the hot tank and to retain that temperature.

No refrigerants, chemicals or water are used, and it has no particular geographic requirement, unlike several energy storage ideas currently in pilot testing. It could be cheap at utility-scale – as little as $10/kWh (one time, to build it), according to the company’s chief technology officer, Jonathan Howes, and the overall operating efficiency of the energy storage process is claimed to be 72% to 80%. More >>>

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