Vattenfall pilots salt technology with 10x the capacity of water storage

Swedish utility Vattenfall is piloting a new salt-based energy storage system, which may hold ten-times the capacity to store energy than water.

Experiments have shown the ability to store ten-times the capacity of water, and for months on end. It is hoped the technology will help overcome any weather-related fluctuations in renewable generation from wind or solar.

The salt-based “salt battery” technology was developed by fellow-Swedish company SaltX Technology. The system uses salt crystals coated in nano material, which is heated with electricity, and the heat energy is stored to be discharged as needed.

The 10MWh trial will examine the system’s ability to store wind and solar energy at its Reuter thermal power plant in Berlin, Germany, and will run until the end of summer.

Project manager Markus Witt said: “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.”

The project is part of a larger rebuilding of Vattenfall’s Reuter plant, which will soon start operations as the largest power-to-heat unit in Europe.