- Adrian Lepiten
Sand Energy could be the new renewable energy
Source: Polar Night Energy
This new technology could be used worldwide to solve the energy crisis.
Finnish researchers have installed the world's first fully working "sand battery" that can store green power for months—the ideal response after Russia cut off its gas and electricity supply.
Finnish researchers Markku Ylönen and Tommi Eronen, who came up with the sand battery idea
The sand battery is developed by young Finnish engineers Tommi Eronen and Polar Night Energy founder Markku Yalonen. The two are the first to successfully connect sand to a commercial power station, even though many other research organizations are exploring the limits of sand as a green energy storage option.
The same as traditional storage systems for renewables, Polar's technology stores energy from wind turbines and solar panels that aren't used at once. More specifically, it stores energy as heat, which is then used to power Vatajankoski's district heating system.
Sand is an inexpensive heat-storage material that operates effectively between 500 and 600 degrees Celsius. Polar says its technology can keep sand "hotter than the stoves in typical saunas" for months until it's time to use that heat during Finland's long winters.
According to the BBC, the resistive heating method used to warm the sand produces hot air pumped inside the building. When it is time to use the energy, the battery releases the heated air to heat the district's heating system's water, which is then pushed into residences, workplaces, and even swimming pools.
Efficiency "falls dramatically" when electricity is instead sent back to the grid. Although the technology is still in its infancy, other businesses and organizations may be able to come up with solutions, BBC added.
At the moment, Polar's sand battery only serves a single city, and it's still unclear whether the technology can be scaled up.