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New thermal battery can produce electricity even when the sun isn’t shining

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Brief: Curtin University researchers are working on a “potentially game-changing” thermal battery that can produce electricity overnight.

The battery is a component of United Sun Systems’ Concentrated Solar Power system, which requires a battery to store and release energy so that it can generate non-stop solar power.

“Storage has long been a stumbling point for renewable energy but our prototype thermal battery is able to store and, as required, release solar energy without reliance on sunlight at all times,” head researcher Professor Craig Buckley from Curtin’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences said.

“The battery uses a high-temperature metal hydride or metal carbonate as the heat storage medium and a low temperature gas storage vessel for storing the hydrogen or carbon dioxide.

“At night, and in times of cloud cover, hydrogen or carbon dioxide is released from the gas storage vessel and absorbed by the higher temperature metal to form a metal hydride/metal carbonate, which produces heat used to generate electricity.”

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