Desperate times call for desperate measures but in this case, “innovative” is the word that comes to mind.
The world’s first large scale sand battery just went online in Finland, a new technology that will help heat the country after cutting off Russian gas.
What you’re looking at is a 4×7 meters steel container filled with hundreds of tons of sand. Using renewable electricity, that sand will be heated up to 500-600 degrees Celsius, with the heat then stored for use in the local district heating system.
This sand-based thermal energy storage system is the first commercial application of this technology.
It was developed by Polar Night Energy based on its patented technology and now operates on the site of a power plant run by Vatajankoski, an energy company founded in 1925.
“This innovation is a part of the smart and green energy transition. Heat storages can significantly help to increase intermittent renewables in the electrical grid.
At the same time we can prime the waste heat to usable level to heat a city. This is a logical step towards combustion-free heat production,” said Markku Ylönen, co-founder of Polar Night Energy.
Right now, the system can discharge a maximum of 100kW of heat power and has a total energy capacity of 8MWh, equating to up to 80 hours’ storage duration, but, according to the BBC, authorities hope to scale the system a thousand-fold to 8GWh.
The media outlet also provided an interesting infographic showing how sand batteries work.
Hopefully, the plan to scale the Polar Night Energy battery will work and more countries will use them for their green energy commitments.