Words by Smiley Team
To accelerate the switch away from fossil fuels, two Finnish companies have created a device that will store green energy for months on end and resolve the longstanding drawback of renewables. Its main component? Builders sand.
Consisting of 100 tonnes of sand filling a 7-metre high steel silo, the battery stores solar and wind power as heat at temperatures of up to 600C.
It solves the issue of how to sustain green energy use all year round. What’s more, the excess heat will be used to warm homes in the nearby city of Kankaanpää, helping residents reduce their energy bills.
This makes it the world’s first commercial solution to green energy loss using sand to store energy while fueling a district heating network.
Its producers, energy companies Polar Night Energy and Vatajankoski, describe the results as “a positive surprise”.
Markku Ylönen, the Co-Founder and CTO of Polar Night Energy explained: “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.”
VOLUNTEER: If you’re interested in helping to build renewable energy for communities in London, volunteer for renewable energy charity Repowering.
GO GREEN: To install solar panels yourself in the UK, find out how you might be able to do so with the help of non-profit Solarsense.