SAND BATTERY - IAS Academy in Coimbatore
Why in News?
Sand batteries can store a significant extent of thermal energy and can aid Clean Energy Solutions.
Finland has installed the world’s first fully working "sand battery" in its town called Kankaanpaa capable of storing green power for months at a time. The batteries can also solve the issue of year-round supply.
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 sand as heat.
- Sand is a very effective medium for retaining heat over a long period, storing power for months at a time.
- 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.
- The sand battery helps to ambitiously upscale renewables production by ensuring there’s always a way to benefit from clean energy, even if the surplus is massive.
How can it Address Europe's Energy Crisis
- Russia — the supplier of 40 % of the European Union’s natural gas supply — has shut off its pipelines to a large extent.
- Countries in the Northern Hemisphere rely on a central heating system in winters, with natural gas as the most common heating fuel. This is unlike developing countries with a tropical climate.
- The sale of heat pumps, considered a renewable source of internal heating, rose by 35 % in the EU. A rise in the sale of other controversial alternatives, such as wood pellets, accompanied this simultaneously.
- The world is increasingly looking at renewable internal heating sources.
- Thermal storage will reduce reliance on fossil fuels, provide storage for intermittent renewable energy and help balance the grid.
- Thermal energy storage is yet to develop as a field in this sense globally fully.
- 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.
- This patented technology is 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.
- It is believed that it could solve the problem of year-round supply, a major issue for green energy.