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Stone to Store Electricity
July 21, 2009 19:07

Talcum peach

Russian scientists and power engineers suggest storing energy in the form of heat by means of a natural material, called talcum peach or talcum chlorite.

Electricity is usually stored as chemical energy, for instance, in batteries of flashlights and cell phones and in car accumulators. In everyday life, people also use heat accumulators – in this case, energy is stored in thermos flasks, hot-water bags and village stoves. Experts consider storing energy in heat accumulators to be a very convenient and cost effective way. Scientists from Petrozavodsk State University and their colleagues from the private power engineering company suggest practical implementation for the idea to store energy as heat.

For this purpose, researchers suggest using following heat-accumulating material – natural mineral, called talcum peach, which deposits are located in Karelia and Finland. This mineral is also known as “fire stone” and “pot stone” due to its extremely high heat absorptive capacity – 2.5 times higher than bricks, commonly used for building stoves in the country. People used talcum peach not only for building stoves, but also for making pots and even pans. Talcum peach formed from volcanic rocks as a result of carbonization (carbonic acid or carbon dioxide absorption), and this is the reason for this mineral’s unusual properties.



Scientists from Petrozavodsk State University currently try to integrate talcum peach heat accumulators into wind energy power plants. The point is that today use of wind energy is often irrational due to wind speed, which usually is not constant. When the wind is very strong, and power consumption is low, produced energy has to go to ballast resistance, which turns it to heat and reflects it to the environment without any use for human beings (the only thing that benefits from this is possibly the greenhouse effect). When this energy is transferred to talcum peach, efficiency coefficient of a wind power plant grows 40%.

Nuclear power plants face the same problem of excessive heat. At night, people tend to consume much less energy than during the day, and making a nuclear power plant to produce less energy is almost impossible. In this case, engineers build so-called “Anti-HPP (hydroelectric power plant) facilities”, which use pumps to take the water up to a water-storing reservoir in order to get energy from falling water later in the daytime. However, such water-storing reservoirs require large territories, and heat accumulators are quite compact in size. The heat-storing project of Russian scientists and engineers is financially supported by RosAtom, which usually is a good criterion for telling which development is promising. Well, it would be great for the whole mankind, if energy were stored in a “stone pot” made of talcum peach without dissipating in the atmosphere.

Source: Science News

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Petrozavodsk     

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