Solar power now provides quite a portion of the electricity supply. It is clean and safe, indeed the most promising renewable energy in the foreseeable future. However, there are times when the sun is taking breaks. Hence, capturing and utilizing renewable solar energy is just one side of the coin, the other side depends on the effective method of solar energy storage.
In this regard, besides the conventional expensive non-durable lead-acid or lithium-ion battery banks, ideal candidates are just very few if not none. To name them, gravity storage, hydrogen, flow battery, thermal fuel, are all under trial stage, except Phase Change Material, this beefier solution which dwarfs others because it is highly energy efficient and practical for use for the time being.
In a conventional solar system, people use Photovoltaic (PV) solar panel to capture solar energy. When sunlight hits a solar panel, photons are converted into electrons, which then pass through the cells of the solar panel and are converted into direct current (DC) electricity. In this process, large amount of energy lost as heat or as reflected away from the cell’s surface. Today most solar panels turn not more than 20% sunlight into usable electricity.
In our unique PCM-TES system, we use Heliostats to reflect and concentrate sunlight to heat up special Phase Change Materials to an extremely high temperature up to 600℃, meaning great amount of solar energy has been stored in this process. To use it, the heat carried by PCM will be channeled to a steamed-powered generator to produce electricity or for other purposes. The energy efficiency of the whole system can be achieved to as high as 54%!
Solar PCM-TES enables a more controlled form of solar energy storage and transfer, as the temperature of the PCM remains constant throughout the phase change. The energy density of PCM is very high, resulting in reduced volumetric requirements.