Is Sand the Answer to Storing Solar Energy...
The need to improve and lower the cost of solar energy storage is great, and researchers around the world are racing to be the first to discover a solution.
In Abu Dabai a group of researchers have been studying if sand in their own backyard could be the answer. Sandstock, the new technology created by scientists at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, has proven after several rounds of testing that it may help reduce the cost of converting solar heat into usable electricity. It may also improve round-the-clock energy conversion, since sand can store energy to be converted at night.
Sand has the ability to store heat up to 1,832F (1000C) and the Sandstock project is proving that it can be used as thermal energy storage for concentrated solar power - the result have been really good!
Even though the research is still ongoing, the team is very optimistic and released a study in December summarizing them. Normally the TES materials used are expensive and not the best for the enviroment, so the replacement of sand with is abundantly available and inexpensive could really have a huge impact on the solar power energy.
Sand isn't the only thing being tested at the Masdar, but it has produced some of the best results! And the US and Europe are testing similar technologies.
The race in on!