How solar energy can be stored in ‘batteries’ made from food waste

September 14, 2023 – A research team from Norway says progress has been made in developing small-scale green energy storage, especially for heating homes and holiday cabins. The installation resembles a boiler and can store solar energy. The system is based on phase transition, in this case from fatty acid esters from food waste. The system uses photovoltaic cells on the roof of a house to generate electricity during the day to heat water. The water flows through a small tank in the house. This contains solidified esters that melt (absorb heat) when the temperature rises above a certain point. In the evening, when heating is required, cold water is passed through the tank, causing the esters to solidify and release heat.

If the researchers succeed, this could be a way of heating homes and holiday cabins on chilly nights – using solar energy and the components in fatty waste such as discarded food. Illustration: Knut Gangåssæter/SINTEF

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