Curtin University researchers have developed a new thermal battery-based solar power system that produces electricity overnight.
According to the researchers, the innovative device provides a more viable and continuous source of power for heavy industries and mining operations worldwide.
Curtin is collaborating with international renewable energy companies United Sun Systems and ITP Thermal on the potentially game-changing project.
According to the project’s team lead, Professor Craig Buckley, the thermal battery was part of the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) system developed by United Sun Systems.
United Sun Systems’ device requires a battery to store and release energy to enable non-stop solar power generation.
“Storage has long been a stumbling point for renewable energy but our prototype thermal battery is able to store and, as required, release solar energy without reliance on sunlight at all times,” explains Buckley.
“The battery uses a high-temperature metal hydride or metal carbonate as the heat storage medium and a low temperature gas storage vessel for storing the hydrogen or carbon dioxide.”
“At night, and in times of cloud cover, hydrogen or carbon dioxide is released from the gas storage vessel and absorbed by the higher temperature metal to form a metal hydride/metal carbonate, which produces heat used to generate electricity.”
The new solar power system can produce electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is commercially viable for industry.
The researchers are now working on a new technology that integrates thermochemical energy storage via a thermal battery into a dish-Stirling system.
A dish-Stirling system can provide up to 46 kW of power and is ideal for powering remote energy intensive industries such as mine sites.
Image and content: Kai Pilger-Pexels/Curtin University via PhysOrg