Did you have ever heard about large scale energy storage in concrete? Probably not.
The concrete may be key to cheap large scale energy storage in the near future if we go with new technology developed by a Norwegian NEST AS.
NEST AS has developed a special concrete called Heatcrete to be used for solid-state thermal energy storage (TES). Heatcrete demonstrates superior thermal performance over normal concretes and was developed in partnership with HeidelbergCement.
Concept of NEST thermal energy storage (TES)
Image credit: NEST AS
The full battery system consist of steel heat exchangers cast into Heatcrete cells, with a heat transfer fluid flowing through the exchangers. The heat transfer fluid can be oil, water, steam or gases. Temperature is controlled through various manifolds and a smart valve control algorithm.
NEST can be used in conjunction with a concentrating solar power (CSP) plant or utilise surplus electricity from other renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines after it has been converted to heat.
NEST says Heatcrete has been heated up to 550°C without any evidence of degradation. Heatcrete is expected to be able to withstand millions of cycles, with normal usage considered low cycle fatigue.
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