Salt makes green energy long-lasting

27. April 2020

Conservation: DTU and Seaborg Technologies are among the partners in a new innovation project on energy storage in liquid fluorine salt. The goal is to store green power over time in a competitive way – if necessary for several weeks.

Professor John Hald from DTU Mekanik has worked with power plants for more than 30 years. From the development of the world’s best coal power plants to the use of CO2-neutral biomass such as straw and wood.

The steam turbine has been the backbone of energy production throughout the years, which also applies now that energy is increasingly coming from sources that are not constant. Together with a number of companies and the utility company DIN Forsyning, the DTU professor will send the steam turbine into the future with new technology from the innovation project Molten Salt Storage.

“We must be able to store the surplus power from, for example, offshore wind turbines – and we can do that in the salt storage we are working on in the current project. With a high energy density, a low melting point and a high boiling point, we can heat the salt up to approximately 700 degrees with green excess current without it evaporating, ”says John Hald.

The plan is then to use the stored energy from the salt plant to power a steam turbine that can create new, green energy and heat for the electricity or district heating network. According to John Hald, the warehouse will be able to store on green power for several weeks.

Stainless steel storage
A challenge with the fluorine salts used is that they are corrosive. Part of the innovation project is therefore about finding materials that can hold the hot salt without rusting – a task that Seaborg Technologies takes care of.

“One of our core competencies is to handle the aggressive salts so that they do not destroy the warehouse we are working on. Once we have developed the final system design, we expect to demonstrate the plant on a larger scale so that it can be commercialized, ”says Ask Emil Løvschall-Jensen, co-founder and COO of Seaborg Technologies.

A potential export adventure
The market potential for energy storage in salt is also something that the project partners focus on in Molten Salt Storage. The consulting house Viegand Maagøe counts, among other things, on the salt warehouse’s competitiveness in relation to other offers for solutions for storage of. The calculations are based on the collaboration with the project partner, DIN Forsyning, which is a regional Multiforsyningsselskab in Esbjerg and Varde.

“DIN Forsyning is going to end its dependence on a coal-fired power plant, and this could well be an alternative solution for them in the long term. If we can demonstrate through the collaboration that the salt storage works, it has wide application possibilities in the energy and district heating sectors – both in Denmark and internationally. So it can be a new export adventure, ”says Carsten Glenting, partner in Viegand Maagøe.

The national cluster organization Energy Innovation Cluster facilitates the project. According to Glenda Napier, CEO of the Energy Innovation Cluster, the innovation project is a very good example of how increased sector coupling will define the energy system in the future.

“Energy storage is a key challenge on the road to the 70 percent reduction of greenhouse gases in 2030. The salt storage project is a good example of how joint innovative power makes a positive difference – both in terms of climate and potential business areas for Denmark as an energy nation in the future,” says Glenda Napier.

The project is supported with DKK 2.8 million. from the EU Regional Fund and is expected to be completed in December 2020.

Molten Salt Storage is a CRIF project facilitated by the Energy Innovation Cluster. DIN Forsyning is a problem owner, and the problem solvers are: Seaborg Technologies, DTU – Technical University of Denmark, Viegand Maagøe, Blue Consulting and KIRT X THOMSEN.