Published on June 27th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro
Video: Isentropic Wants To Store Energy In Gravel
We’re finally figuring out ways to efficiently and affordably generate green power…now the problem we have to solve is how to store that power. A UK company called Isentropic wants to store green energy via a heat pump system that uses the thermal storage of small rocks to cheaply and efficiently capture green energy.
You’ve no doubt noticed that on hot days, gravel tends to get, well, hot. Isentropic exploits that natural heat storage with a Pumped Heat Electricity Storage (PHES), which pumps gases between cold and hot storage tanks, compressing and expanding the gases at a 72 to 80% round-trip efficiency.
That’s even better than the 65% efficiency of hydropower, the current efficiency benchmark. The video does a great job of breaking down the simplicity of this green energy storage system, and it doesn’t take a genius to see why it would be a cheaper storage solution then traditional batteries.
The PHES system could become the go-to means of storing excess energy generated by solar or wind power. More importantly, it does so with a cheap and abundant natural resource (rocks!) rather than expensive lithium-ion batteries, dangerous liquid chemicals, or terrain-specific hydro power. It certainly seems simple enough to work, but will it ever become more than just a good idea?
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