Fire brick Resistance-heated Energy Storage
Firebricks offer low-cost storage for carbon-free energy
Sustainable Issue: Energy storage/Efficiency
Technology: Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have drawn from an ancient technology as their latest solution for enabling rapid expansion of wind, solar and nuclear power. Heat-storing firebricks could be used to level electricity prices for renewables.
The researchers’ idea is to make use of excess electricity produced when demand is low — for example, from wind farms when strong winds are blowing at night — by using electric resistance heaters, which convert electricity into heat. These devices would use the excess electricity to heat up a large mass of firebricks, which can retain the heat for long periods if they are enclosed in an insulated casing. Later, the heat could be used directly for industrial processes, or it could feed generators that convert it back to electricity when the power is needed. The potential usefulness of FIRES is a new phenomenon has brought about by the rapid rise of intermittent renewable energy sources, and the peculiarities of the way electricity prices are set.
The firebrick, insulation, and other storage components are like high-temperature firebrick industrial recuperates. The ceramic firebrick is used because of its low cost and durability, while also having large sensible heat storage capabilities. If one allows a 1000 °C temperature range from cold to hot temperature, the heat storage capacity is ∼0.5–1 MWh/m3. Storage capacity of FIRES is governed by the sensible heat capable of being stored in a volume of material over a chosen temperature range (minimum and maximum temperatures). The chosen temperature range and material will be determined by the needs of the industrial process. More firebrick will store more energy.
- Manufacturing units
- Public/ Government body
- Commercial building users
Deployment / Implementation:
Step one: Showcase the reliability of the technology to the public and private entities. Attract more investors and spread awareness about the usage to this technology.
Step two: Set up some full-scale prototype units to prove the principles in real-world conditions.
Step three: Find companies that could use this technology in their buildings to demonstrate the efficiency of the technology.