Wind and solar power to be stored in salt

salt battery energy storage

The German capital is known for its troubled past as well as an being an intellectual and arts hub, but now Berlin could also be known as a leader in energy storage technology.

European energy producer Vattenfall, along with Swedish company SaltX Technology, will test how renewable wind and solar power can be stored in salt.

In experiments, SaltX’s patented technology has proven to be able to store up to 10 times more energy and for much longer periods than water. The technology will be tested for the first time on an industrial scale at a pilot plant in Vattenfall’s Reuter thermal power plant in Berlin.

The pilot plant at the Reuter thermal power plant in Spandau, Berlin, has a total storage capacity of 10 MWh.

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“In the next few months, we will collect important data to get answers to the question of whether and how this type of plant can be used in our business. Some questions are how large amounts of salt can be used, how quickly the storage medium reacts and how the process can be controlled,” said Markus Witt, who is responsible for the project at Vattenfall Wärme Berlin AG.

The patented technology developed by Swedish SaltX Technology is based on nano-coated salt. The technology enables this ‘salt battery’ to be charged several thousand times and that the energy can be stored for weeks or months without losses.

“The energy sector is changing quickly, and we globally see an enormous need for energy storage. Germany is a country at the forefront of this development and we are proud to have Vattenfall as a partner. We are eager to launch our energy storage solution commercially as quickly as possible,” CEO of SaltX Technology Harald Bauer said.

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Test evaluation

The test operation at the plant in Berlin is planned to run until the end of the summer 2019. Thereafter, test data will be evaluated, and the results presented at the end of the year.

The pilot plant is part of a long-term rebuilding of the Reuter power plant. In 2019, Vattenfall will also start operating Europe’s largest power-to-heat facility there, an energy store based on storage of hot water. During 2020, Vattenfall will take the Reuter C coal power plant out of service, which is a step in the plan to completely phase out all coal as a fuel in Vattenfall’s heating operations in Berlin by 2030.