BERLIN (AP) By just adding water salt battery could could help renewable energy use in future. Among warmth and the hum of the Reuter of Berlin power station stands a contraption that seems out of place from the machine hallway. Vats and it’s silver pipes have a chemical that the plant owner, Vattenfall, states could become an integral component for a
fossil fuel-free future. The energy firm, together with a Swedish startup, is analyzing the use of salt — even although not the table selection that is common — to store heat, which accounts for more than half the power consumed in Germany.
The machine could help fix a problem and solar over the world if it works well: but they are unreliable, meaning that they infrequently generate too much, and too little power.
“With many facilities such as this one, in theory, you would not need gas or other fossil fuel backups,” said Roeglin, who oversees the salt storage project for Vattenfall.
Phasing out nuclear, gas and coal is an ambitious undertaking for a country such as Germany.
The plan, called the Energiewende or energy transition, has been closely watched by other countries trying to work out how to curb greenhouse gas emissions and meet the Paris climate accord that aims to maintain global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).
Experts concur that a range of solutions will be essential to substitute some still in the experimental stage and fossil fuels. The automobile company Tesla has shown in Australia that it can offer large battery systems to stabilize electricity grids.
In calcium oxide is now included by the solution. Swedish SaltX and Vattenfall have been using a chemical reaction that occurs when quicklime gets wet: the water soaks up, getting calcium hydroxide and releasing vast quantities of heat in the procedure. The material turns into calcium oxide — a process similar to baking — by eliminating the water.
The procedure mirrors batteries work but these machine stores heat, rather than electricity. SaltX says it has patented a means of covering the quicklime called a nano-coating — to prevent it from clumping together after heating and cooling cycles.
Roeglin says the procedure can consume ten times more energy than water, which utilized for power-to-heat facilities. And unlike tanks, the system can retain the chemically-trapped energy for far longer. Need heat? Just add water.
The pilot project in Berlin can now save energy to heat about 100 large houses. But SaltX claims the facility could easily be scaled up and supply heat to any of the homes or offices already connected to the district heating system of the capital. Such networks — consisting of pipes pumping hot water or steam to customers from power plants — exist in many European countries, Canada, the USA, Japan and China.
The engineer, Roeglin, is currently waiting till the end of the year to see how the test pans out. “It may be one part of the puzzle,” he said.