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In 2019, SaltX Technology built a pilot plant in Berlin with a reactor technology based on a heated screw design for storing and extracting thermal energy in the form of steam with SaltX's nanocoated salt. Following the test runs in Berlin, the company has focused on improving the process using fluidization technology as the next step. The new reactor will evaluate the performance of the nanocoated salt combined with the fluidization technology. Testing will be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
The ”salt” by Nordkalk
The nanocoated salt (NCS) used in the solution, is supplied 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. For the testing in Stockholm, Nordkalk has delivered 30 t coated lime.
“We find this experiment most interesting from our own point of view as we are constantly looking for new uses for our products”, says Nordkalk’s Thomas Nyberg, Application Manager, R&D.
The storage system works due to 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 nanocoating, 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.
The "salt" comes from the Pargas quarry
Reducing use of fossil fuels by storing energy in salt
The use of nanocoated salt makes it possible to cease using energy systems based on fossil fuels. To replace coal, it is possible to use NCS to store energy from renewable sources. 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. SaltX Technology’s 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.
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.