Polar Night Energy The first commercial sand battery

Η Polar Night Energy μόλις ξεκίνησε να λειτουργεί την its first commercial sand battery at the facilities of the "new energy" company Vatajankoski, a few hours outside of Helsinki.


It is a thermal energy storage system built around a large, insulated steel tank (about 4 meters wide and 7 meters high) filled with sand.

When this sand is heated, using a simple heat exchanger buried in the middle of the tank, this device is capable of storing 8 megawatt hours of energy, with a nominal power of 100 kW. The sand is heated somewhere around 500-600 degrees Celsius.

When needed, the energy is extracted again as heat in the same way. Vatajankowski uses this stored heat, combined with the heat it collects from its own data servers, to power a local heating system, which uses water pipes to transmit heat throughout the area.

It can then be used to heat buildings, swimming pools, industrial processes or any other situation that requires heat.

"It's really easy to turn electricity into heat," says Polar Night CTO Markku Ylonen.

“But to convert heat into electricity, you need turbines and much more complicated things. As long as we use heat as heat, it's very simple."

The company claims an efficiency factor of up to 99 percent, in its ability to store heat with minimal losses for months on end and a lifetime of decades.

There's no particular requirement for the sand — the company says it just needs to be dry and free of combustible debris.

The company also says it will scale up the energy storage facilities to around 20 gigawatt hours producing hundreds of megawatts of rated power, and the sand will be heated up to 1.000C.

It is even possible to create underground storage facilities from unused mine shafts if they are shaped correctly. High pressure vessels are not needed and the biggest cost will be the piping.

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Written by giorgos

George still wonders what he's doing here ...

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