Ingenious battery that saves excess energy as heat wins European Invention of the Year

Alejandro Datas - Credit IES UPM.jpg

An ingenious battery developed by a team from the Solar Energy Institute and the Polytechnic University of Madrid has been awarded the title of European Invention of the Year. 

According to news site El Espanol on Tuesday, November 29 the group received the award from the European Union for coming up with a more effective and energy efficient way to store solar and wind power.

Renewables have taken huge steps in recent years, however, their use up until now has remained limited given the question of what do you do with the excess energy that is produced.

Currently smaller installations use voltaic batteries, but these are expensive to buy and can take up a significant amount of space, meaning they are not useful in all situations. Furthermore, they are not the most effective way to store electricity generated.

With more than 40 per cent of Spain’s energy now produced through renewables, many experts had been looking at viable alternatives.

To the rescue comes the group’s Amadeus Project, which stores thermos photovoltaic energy rather than electricity.  

Alejandro Datas, who spoke to El Espanol, likened the system to storing the “sun in a box,” with the name coming from a film about a scientist trying to do just that.

He said heat is the cheapest way to store energy, and with renewables producing more and more energy but not necessarily when it’s needed, it needs to be stored in greater quantities and for longer.

“That’s why storing energy in the form of heat makes perfect sense. And with these technologies we can go from €400 euros for each kW / h you store in lithium batteries, to €10 or even less by storing it as heat.”

To do so effectively means storing the heat at very high temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Celsius. To do this silicon is used as it is not only a very capable of storing energy, it melts at these high temperatures. The high temperatures allow for the very dense storage of energy.

By all accounts the ingenious battery that saves excess energy as heat is some way off production, but the group has grown to 15 staff as they now work on mass solutions.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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