We know that solar energy proposes several advantages, but energy storage still remains the soft spot of the system.
A team of researchers from Oregon State University, claim to have found the key to storing solar power for those crucial hours of the night. Their method is called thermochemical energy storage (TCES): it was projected for concentrated solar power systems, it is cheap, it is clean, and it has equal energy storage density to conventional lithium-ion batteries.
TCES works in a similar manner to regular batteries, with the difference that the driving chemical reactions absorb and release heat during the charge-discharge cycles. It contains eco-friendly strontium carbonate (SrCO3), which is nonflammable; the TCES uses the heat to break down SrCO3 into carbon dioxide and strontium oxide, stored separately within the system. For discharge, the two chemicals are combined again, and the process releases large amounts of heat, used to power a turbine.
The system might finally meet the needs for an eco-friendly and affordable energy storage to serve a smart electrical grid.
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