The first “sand battery” in the world is now operational. The gadget has a long-term storage capacity for green energy. According to a BBC News article, the Finnish researchers who created the sand battery claimed that the sand battery’s ability to store green power for weeks at a time may be the answer to the year-round supply issue.
For green energy, which includes solar energy and wind energy, the challenge of year-round supply is a significant difficulty. Lowgrade sand is used in the battery, which can be heated using cheap electricity produced by solar or wind energy.
WHY GREEN ENERGY CONCERNS ARE A PROBLEM IN FINLAND:
The article claims that the heat is stored in the sand at a temperature of about 500 degrees Celsius. In the winter, when energy is more expensive, this can warm homes. Because Finland imports the majority of its gas from Russia, the Russia Ukraine conflict has brought the issue of green electricity into stark relief. The European Union’s longest border with Russia is in Finland (EU).
The supply of gas and power has been cut off by Moscow in response to Finland’s decision to join NATO. Winters that are long and bitterly cold are expected in Finland. Finns are anxious about their sources of heat and light since the Russian gas supply has been cut off.
GREEN ENERGY-RELATED DIFFICULTIES:
A modest power plant in western England currently boasts of a new technology that can solve the issues related to heat and light sources. Approximately 100 tonnes of builder’s sand make up the apparatus. The paper suggests that the unfinished grains could be a quick and inexpensive approach to store energy for when it is most needed.
The rapid rise in the price of fossil fuels and the effects of climate change have increased investment in new renewable energy production. Although adding solar panels and wind turbines to national grids is a simple process, the additional sources come with significant difficulties.
LARGE-SCALE BATTERY DRAWBACKS:
In order to keep the electrical system balanced as more renewable energy is added, other energy sources must be increased. Otherwise, the electricity grid could collapse due to an excess of or lack of power. These issues can be resolved by using large-scale batteries to balance energy demand as the electrical grid becomes more environmentally friendly.
But the majority of batteries are pricey and composed of lithium. Additionally, they can only handle a certain amount of surplus electricity.According to the story, a group of Finnish engineers from the village of Kankaanpää have now finished the first commercial installation of a battery built of sand.
THE FUNCTION OF THE SAND BATTERY:
The engineers are certain that the battery can provide a low-cost, low impact solution to the storage issue.The story quoted Markku Ylönen, one of the two founders of Polar Night Energy who created the product, as saying that whenever there is a high surge of green electricity available, one would want to be able to get it into the storage very rapidly.
The district heating system for the area is operated by the Vatajankoski power station. This plant has the sand battery installed.The temperature of the sand rises by 500 degrees Celsius as a result of resistive heating. Electric current passing through a conductor causes heat to be produced by a process known as resistive heating, sometimes referred to as Joule heating or Ohmic heating. To put it another way, heat is produced anytime an electric current passes through a substance that has some resistance.
A heat exchanger is used to move the heated air throughout the sand. The inventors claim that the sand battery could maintain sand at 500 degrees Celsius for several months because sand is a particularly efficient material for storing heat and loses little heat over time.As a result, the battery can release the hot air when energy prices rise.This air will warm the water for the district heating system, which circulates warm water to residences, businesses, and the neighbourhood pool.
THE FOOD AND DRINK AND TEXTILE INDUSTRIES COULD BENEFIT FROM THE SAND BATTERY:
The concept for the sand battery was first conceived in Tampere, Finland. Elina Seppänen, a Tampere energy and climate expert, is quoted in the article as saying that it will be very costly to operate power plants for only a few hours during the coldest months of the year.According to her, a solution that allows for the flexible use and storage of heat would be quite beneficial in terms of cost.
The sand battery has a number of difficulties, one of which is whether the technology can be scaled sufficiently to actually make a difference.The ability of the inventors to use the sand battery to produce electricity in addition to heat is another crucial topic. According to the study, the amount of electricity substantially decreases when the sand is used to restore power to the electrical grid.
The ability of the sand battery to store green energy as heat should not be discounted for a longer period of time. This will help the food and beverage, textile, and pharmaceutical industries since they rely heavily on the heat produced by burning fossil fuels to carry out their activities. It is possible to combat climate change by not using fossil fuels.
Sand is being investigated as a potential green energy battery by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory.The technique is very straightforward, according to Pekka Passi, managing director of the Vatajankoski power plant, but the researchers connected it with the desire to “be the first in the world to do anything like this” by trying something novel.
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