Aussies Heat Ceramics to 1450F with Solar Power

Nov 13, 2023 12:19 PM ET
  • Unlock the power of the sun with breakthrough concentrated solar power. Australian scientists have pushed thermal energy storage to new heights, heating ceramic particles to 803°C & storing it for up to 15 hours. This could be a key to low-cost renewable energy for Australia & beyond.
Aussies Heat Ceramics to 1450F with Solar Power

Australian scientists have made a major breakthrough in the development of concentrated solar power by heating ceramic particles to an unprecedented 803 degrees Celsius (1477 degrees Fahrenheit). This breakthrough could help transform solar energy into a reliable source of power. The challenge with solar energy is its variability, which can be addressed by storing excess energy for use later. Lithium-ion batteries are a key piece of the puzzle, however they are expensive, prone to self-discharge and can sometimes catch fire.

Concentrated solar power systems use banks of large mirrors to focus sunlight on a single target, which is then used to heat up materials like molten salt. This stored thermal energy can then be used to generate steam and spin a turbine. Testing at a CSIRO research facility in Newcastle has seen their ceramic particles reach a milestone temperature with their storage approach. These particles are cheap, strong and stable enough to withstand intense heating and cooling, and they can store the thermal energy for up to 15 hours. This technology could be key to providing low-cost renewable energy at scale for Australia. Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy is testing similar approaches and has broken ground on a "multi-megawatt" new falling particle facility in New Mexico.

How Could Concentrated Solar Power Transform Renewable Energy?

  • Concentrated solar power systems use banks of large mirrors to reflect and focus sunlight on a single target, which is then used to heat up materials like molten salt.
  • This stored thermal energy can then be used to generate steam and spin a turbine.
  • Australian scientists have heated ceramic particles to 803 degrees Celsius (1477 degrees Fahrenheit) in a breakthrough that could help transform solar energy into a reliable source of power.
  • Ceramic particles are cheap, strong and stable enough to withstand intense heating and cooling, and they can store the thermal energy for up to 15 hours.
  • This technology could be key to providing low-cost renewable energy at scale for Australia.
  • The US Department of Energy is testing similar approaches and has broken ground on a "multi-megawatt" new falling particle facility in New Mexico.
  • Concentrated solar power could provide a reliable, low-cost alternative to traditional forms of renewable energy.
  • Lithium-ion batteries are currently used to store excess energy, however they are expensive and can sometimes catch fire.
Source:
freethink.com

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