How Useful Is a Sand Battery?


The energy sector has been experiencing creative innovation that even sand can become material for producing electricity. It’s called a sand battery and uses sand to store heat from excess power generated from solar or wind-generated energy. The heat in the sand battery can be stored for months to be used later. But is it enough to solve the energy crisis?

Heat energy from sand

A sand battery is a high-temperature thermal energy storage that requires sand or something equivalent to store the energy as heat. It can be used to heat homes during winter. This can also potentially provide hot steam to fossil-fuel-dependent industries that need high temperatures for their processes.

Sand battery
Image: Polar Night Energy

Led by Tommi Eronen and Ville Kivioja of the Finland startup, Polar Night Energy, led and constructed the sand battery in Vatajankoski, an electric grid located in Kankaanpää. The system utilizes low-cost renewable energy to increase temperature and sand can do that to 600 Celsius or more.

As the demand rises, consumption increases. The sand battery can be a good alternative as it can store and balance large-scale energy. It can be a backup for national grids as well.

One crucial thing is that the source material is just sand. The process is cost-efficient as sand is inexpensive and easy to find. That also means it doesn’t require mining fossil fuels that trigger environmental pollution, making it usable as renewable green energy.

The major investment is in the construction material for the sand battery’s steel storage tank. The battery captures the renewable energy and converts it into hot hair through standardized heat resistive tools and redirects the air into the sand. Hot air from the battery can be channeled into a heating system for homes and industries.

The efficiency of the sand battery

According to Markku Ylönen, co-founder and CTO of Polar Night Energy, the project has been designed to upscale solar and wind-produced energy. Since solar and wind farms occasionally generate more electricity than necessary for power grids, the sand battery can store that excess energy and put it to use later.

The sand battery provides a possibility to be a substitute power supply. Consumers can potentially use it later on, especially during colder seasons.

Is it effective in solving the energy crisis?

The sand battery is a great solution for heating houses in cold weather. Still, it requires a high temperature to heat the sand which can be a disadvantage to returning the power to the electricity grid. It could be better to develop a way to convert heat into electricity with a higher efficiency rate.

Polar Night Energy is working on the next step to scale up the sand battery for electricity generation. They are looking forward to commercial-scale heat production by increasing the heat-storing capacity to move cities toward combustion-free production.

The company plans to plant turbines that can support heat conversion to supply the grid and generate sustainable energy. It can be hard to say if the sand battery can solve the energy crisis or not, but it is going to have some positive impact on the energy supply soon.

YouTube: How the world’s first sand battery stores green power – BBC News

Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been taken by Ivan Chiosea. The image used in the body of the article is owned by Polar Night Energy and has been provided for press usage.

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Faraha Rahman Lamiya
Faraha Rahman Lamiya
Hi, this is Faraha, an enthusiastic tech journalist at TechAcute. Thanks for reading my article. Hope you liked it. I try to give you the latest updates regarding exciting technology innovations or something you would love to learn. If you wanna say Hi, knock me wherever you want.
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