ANU cracks solar storage

johnboy 3 May 2007 4

ANU has put out a media release announcing they’ve snapped up $7 million from the Federales who are mad keen for their ammonia-based thermochemical solar energy storage system.

As far as I understand it the real breakthrough here is that they’re chemically storing the heat from the sun (gathered in this case with their “big dish” concentrator) and can then release that energy for electricity generation AT ANY TIME.

Solar power you can use at night would dramatically change the renewable energy game, assuming they can make it scale.


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jemmy jemmy 6:10 pm 03 May 07

The way I read it in the CT was that they’re using the sun’s energy to split the ammonium ion into N and H. Very clever and one of those things you wonder why no one else has already done it.

Ammonia is one of those interesting compounds, for amateur biologists anyway. Ammonia is urea is urine, which all higher life forms excrete. Why? Because it is very costly energy-wise to break it down further, so it’s easier to get rid of it. AFAIK, there is no higher life form that uses ammonia, only some bacteria, and that only because it is a niche market so they have an advantage evolution-wise. (Someone who actually knows might like to step in here.)

Costly energy wise to split implies a release of energy when you combine. So if you can use free energy to split it, you get that energy back for free (less conversion loss) when you combine it.

Very clever and I tips me lid to ’em.

johnboy johnboy 1:19 pm 03 May 07

well, it’s not storing electricity, only the heat.

But as long as you’ve got a system that generates heat prior to making electrcity it’s just as good.

You’d think there are a lot of other places than just solar concentrators that could use it. There’s a lot of waste heat in industry.

bonfire bonfire 1:10 pm 03 May 07

translation: a battery or a capacitor

S4anta S4anta 10:05 am 03 May 07

the 7mil is for the R&D to make to make comercially viable matey.

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