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Source: The post is based on the article “Why Finland’s installation of the world’s 1st sand battery may be a game-changer” published in Down To Earth on 21st March 2023
What is the News?
Finland has installed the world’s first sand battery that can store heat from renewable energy sources for months.
What is a Sand Battery?
A “sand battery” is a high-temperature thermal energy storage that uses sand or sand-like materials as its storage medium. It stores energy in the sand as heat.
Its main purpose is to work as a high-power and high-capacity reservoir for excess wind and solar energy. The energy is stored as heat, which can be used to heat homes, or to provide hot steam and high-temperature process heat to industries that are often fossil-fuel dependent.
What are the benefits of using a Sand Battery?
Sand is a very effective medium for retaining heat over a long period, storing power for months at a time.
Sand can be heated up to 600 degrees Celsius (°C) whereas water starts to boil at 100°C. It also has low heat conductivity, which reduces energy loss.
How Sand batteries address Europe’s energy crisis?
The production of wind and solar energy depends on the weather and seasons and is therefore variable. This means energy production doesn’t always match energy demand.
This makes the lack of cheap, viable and sustainable storage technologies one of the biggest barriers to switching the world from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.
In such times, finding alternative energy supplies to fill in the gap can be crucial, these Sand Batteries can prove to be the right step in the right direction.
The sand battery is also useful to a country like Finland, one of the countries closest to the North Pole, where the sun sets at around 3 pm in winter months with temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius.