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A project to further develop solar-thermal-energy storage technology

By Gerald Ondrey |

Synhelion S.A. (Lugano, Switzerland; www.synhelion.com) and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa; Dübendorf; www.empa.ch) are conducting a joint research project, co-funded by the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse, to further develop a high-temperature energy-storage technology that is a key component in the production of climate-friendly solar fuels. The project will enable the cost-effective and scalable storage of high-temperature solar heat at over 1,000°C for the first time. The storage technology is expected to be used in Synhelion’s first industrial-scale solar fuel production facility, which will be built in 2022. Synhelion produces sustainable fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene that are compatible with conventional internal combustion engines and jet engines. The ETH Zurich spin-off has developed a solar thermochemical process based on process heat generated from concentrated sunlight to produce these synthetic fuels (see Solar Chemistry Heats Up, Chem. Eng., March 2018, pp. 12–16). To enable the chemical reactors for solar fuel production to operate around the clock, a cost-effective, high-temperature thermal energy storage (TES) is needed. This solution stores part of…
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