Sand-based batteries, here is an answer to the energy crisis

Innovation thanks to a complex and sophisticated system entirely made in Italy which was developed by the Magaldi group

Battery-based sand. An innovation, and a response to the energy crisis, possible thanks to a complex and sophisticated system entirely made in Italy which was developed by Magaldi group, a company founded in 1929, which today has a presence in over 50 countries with operational offices in the United States, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, India and Australia. And there is also collaboration with Enel X for testing the first plant in the province of Salerno of about 13 megawatt hours. (VIDEO)

But how does it work? The system is quite intuitive and is based on common silica sand which is heated inside a device up to temperatures that go over 400°, using the surplus of energy that comes from renewable sources and exploiting the moment in which there is greater availability.

The system, and here is the advantage, manages to maintain these very high temperatures for days, even weeks, because it is perfectly insulated. “Natural elements to conserve natural energy, sun energy and wind energy. Therefore a union of 2 technologies that can together generate energy from today also thermal, clean energy”, he says Letizia MagaldiExecutive Vice President of Magaldi Green Energy. Magaldi Green Thermal Energy Storage develops an accumulation technology based on a fluidized sand bed, powered exclusively by renewable energies.

It can be charged with excess electrical and thermal energy being able to store it for days, even weeks, with very limited losses, and then discharge it for over 10 hours when the sun or wind are not available. This technology, called ‘Magaldi Green Thermal Energy Storage’, releases high temperature thermal energy ‘on demand’, necessary for energy-intensive industries, for example those that produce paper, food & beverage, chemicals, plastics, etc. And these industries today are heavily dependent on gas, which is used for heat production. “In practice, the concept is very simple. Renewable energies are exploited, such as photovoltaic and wind energy, therefore energy which is intermittent, available only intermittently, because the photovoltaic is available when the sun is shining and not at night when there is a cloud, wind power instead is available only when the wind blows. On the contrary, industries need continuous heat, and they need to decarbonise”.

The fluidization system of sand has considerable advantages: large thermal storage capacity; high thermal efficiency; fast response times; no environmental impact thanks to the use of natural materials. The fluidised sand bed technology is covered by a European and worldwide patent. The plant has a useful life of 30 years and is a zero impact because only completely reusable materials are used such as silica sand and steel. The first experimental module was created and launched in the direct radiation configuration in March 2017 at the Integrated Energy Pole of A2A Energie Future in San Filippo del Mela, in the province of Messina as part of a research project the sand was installed in a thermal concentrating solar system configured to capture solar radiation through heliostats. In short, Italian technology at the service of our economy and beyond.