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Storing renewable energy with the help of lime - Nordkalk manufactures nano-coated salt developed by SaltX

Anne Foley (info a nordkalk.com), 23 May 2019

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Photo: The pilot plant was inaugurated on 11 April at Vattenfall’s Reuter C power plant in Berlin. From left, Eric Jacobson, Head of Growth at SaltX, Markus Witt, responsible for the project at Vattenfall Wärme Berlin AG, Harald Bauer, CFO at SaltX, and Simon Ahlin, Head of Sales at SaltX.

An energy-storage process, developed by the Swedish SaltX Technology AB, is being tested  at Vattenfall’s heat and power plant in Berlin, Germany. A large-scale pilot plant was brought on stream in April. The technology is based on nano-coated salt (NCS), which is patented by SaltX and produced by Nordkalk in Pargas, Finland.

The “salt” is actually processed quicklime (calcium oxide, CaO), which Nordkalk produces from limestone. In SaltX NCS, the quicklime particles are coated with material provided by the German company Wacker Chemie AG.

Mathias Snåre, Nordkalk’s R&D Director, explains the storage system through a familiar chemical reaction: when quicklime becomes wet, it turns into slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and a large amount of heat is released in the process. The water can be removed again by heating the slaked lime, which turns back into quicklime.

Thanks to the patented nano-coating, the quicklime can be used thousands of times; without it the lime would crystalize and prevent the chemical reaction. It is this recharging ability that makes the system revolutionary. NCS can store energy for several months – unlike for example water storage, which gradually cools down.

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Photo: Nordkalk’s R&D personnel in Pargas is keenly following the test taking place in Vattenfall’s heat and power plant in Berlin, Germany. The team that made the key ingredient for the process, consisted of, from left: Teemu Grönblom,  Mika Nordman, Johnny Liewendahl, Thomas Nyberg, Conny Engström and Ilari Huhtanen.

Thermal storage for consistent energy supply

“SaltX NCS makes it possible to give up energy systems based on fossil fuels. We are part of the ongoing transition, in which one possibility for replacing coal is to use salt to store energy from renewable sources,” says Eric Jacobson, Head of Growth at SaltX.

The system can be charged with electricity or heat when available and energy can be discharged as high-quality steam when needed, which ensures continuous energy supply. Until now the challenge with renewables, such as solar and wind power, has been inconsistent supply and energy peaks, when more energy is generated than needed, and thus wasted.

There is widespread interest in NCS, and Nordkalk’s R&D team in Pargas is not the only one following the Vattenfall pilot plant closely. The functionality of the lime has been tested on a laboratory-scale; it is now performing in a plant of 10MWh/0.5MW. The discharged heat is delivered to Berlin’s district heating network.

Upcoming months will show when SaltX NCS will enter the commercialisation phase. The product was invented in 2013, and serious preparations for commercialisation were initiated a couple of years ago. Nordkalk was chosen as SaltX’s preferred European manufacturer last autumn, and the companies have together developed NCS production, taking it from the laboratory to industrial scale.

“We needed a partner with high competence in lime, and the ability to deliver a product with high quality and also the capacity to scale as demand increases. From a sustainability point of view, it is important for us to have a Nordic partner located near to us,” says Eric Jacobson.  

Anne Foley

For more information contact: 
Mathias Snåre, R&D Director, Nordkalk Corporation, +358 20 753 7344
Eric Jacobson, Head of Growth, SaltX Technology, +46 73-643 16 94

Nordkalk is the leading company providing limestone-based products and solutions in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw material to numerous industries such as the pulp, paper, metals, mining, construction and chemicals industry. Our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as the productivity of agricultural land.
With production in more than 20 locations in the Baltic Sea area, Central Europe, Norway and Turkey, we are always near our customers. The company employs 1000 people, and in 2018 its turnover amounted to EUR 300 million. Nordkalk is owned by Rettig Group. For more information, visit www.nordkalk.com


About SaltX Technology
SaltX Technology develops and sells a patented energy storage technology.
SaltX Technology's share is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm First North Premier. FNCA Sweden AB, +46-8-528 00 399, info a fnca.se, is SaltX Technology's certified advisor. For more information, visit: www.saltxtechnology.com

SaltX Technology pilot plant

The system is rather simple, consisting of just two storage tanks, one discharger and one charger. 1. Uncharged salt, 2. Charger, 3. Charged salt, 4. Discharger


Leader in Northern Europe

Nordkalk is the leading limestone company in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.