A thermal energy storage solution said to be 95% cheaper than standard panels linked to lithium-ion batteries has been launched.
The project from United Sun Systems and the DoE’s Savannah River National Laboratory uses a 14-metre diameter parabolic dish covered with mirrors to focus the solar rays, creating temperatures of 750°C.
The technology uses metal-hydride materials to efficiently store thermal energy in the form of chemical bonds and then release it when the sun is not available.
Its developers say the thermal battery will be able to store the energy for more than 100 years with minimum energy losses and be highly competitive with fossil fuels.
It is planned for the new system to become commercially available within the next few years.
Lars Jacobsson, CEO of United Sun Systems, said: “Together with our gas hybrid solution it will supply 24/7 guaranteed electricity distribution, 365 days per year.
“With this technology we will create the much anticipated and needed change in future energy production, away from fossil fuels.”