Sand battery experiment creates eco-friendly central heating
July 5, 2022 - Researchers in Finland have built the world’s first operational sand battery – a system that can store green energy for months at a time.
Developers of the world’s first fully working sand battery system say it could solve the problem of year-round heating – a major issue for green energy.
A full scale experiment by Finnish startup Polar Night Energy, is currently underway in the town of Kankaanpää in south-western Finland. It uses about 100 tonnes of low grade sand to store heat generated from solar panels and wind turbines.
The sand can store heat at around 500°C for months at a time, releasing it via a heat exchanger to warm water used in central heating systems.
Finland used to get most of its energy supplies from Russia, but has been cut off from supplies since it applied to join NATO.
National concerns over sources of heat and electricity through the long, cold Finnish winter are preoccupying minds and spurring an interest in renewable energy.
A future hurdle to cross is whether the technology can be used generate electricity as well as heat – currently efficiency falls off dramatically when sand is used to return power to the electricity grid.