- Finland has installed the world’s first sand battery that can store heat from renewable energy sources for months.
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.
- Its main purpose is to work as a high-power and high-capacity reservoir for excess wind and solar energy.
- As heat alone accounts for half of the world’s energy use, followed by transport (30 percent) and electricity (20 percent), as per intergovernmental organisation International Energy Agency (IEA). Currently, 80 percent of the world’s energy comes from dirty fossil fuels.
- 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.
- Currently, most industrial-scale batteries used for storing electricity from intermittent renewable energy sources are made out of lithium. They are bulky and expensive and do not cope well with large amounts of excess power.