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Letter to the Editor, April 11

Thermal batteries boon for solar energy users

Thermal energy battery could smooth power supply from Boulder City’s solar farms

I have added the newly launched Australian thermal energy battery to my “Gallery of Clean Energy Inventions” exhibit (http://commutefaster.com/vesperman.html), which could smooth the power supply from Boulder City’s solar farms. The text from the exhibit is as follows:

A thermal energy battery can store six times more energy than lithium-ion batteries per volume for 60-80 percent of the price. A TEB stores electrical energy as thermal energy by heating and melting a unique phase-change material, before being extracted by a heat engine to provide electricity when, and where it’s needed. The TEB is a modular energy storage unit that accepts any kind of electricity — solar, wind, fossil fuel-generated or straight off the grid — and uses it to heat up and melt silicon in a heavily insulated chamber. A standard TEB box holds 1.2 megawatt-hours of energy, with all input and output electronics on board, and fits easily into a 20-foot (6-meter) container. Installations can scale from 5-kilowatt applications out to a virtually unlimited size. In the case of an outage, each TEB can remain active for about 48 hours. A TEB can also charge and discharge at the same time.

The Gallery of Clean Energy Inventions exhibits profiles of 19 larger generators, 34 smaller generators, 25 advanced self-powered electric vehicle innovations, 29 radioactivity neutralization methods, 27 space travel innovations, 20 technical solutions to water shortages, and a torsion field school network. The exhibit also includes 40 movie posters and 78 colorful Hubble Space Telescope images.

Gary Vesperman

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