The storage of energy at temperatures higher than 1000 °C using molten silicon-based alloys is the objective of the FET-Open project AMADEUS, which will create a new generation of extremely compact and lower cost energy storage devices.

ultra high temperature energy storage

Direct storage of solar energy in thermal solar power plants, or the integration of both electric power storage and cogeneration in the housing sector and urban areas, are just some examples of the potential applications of the devices to be developed by the project.

AMADEUS is searching for new materials and devices allowing energy storage at temperatures in a range between 1000°C and 2000°C, thus breaking the 600°C mark, rarely exceeded by current state-of-the art concentrated solar power (CSP) systems. To that end, the research team is working with different silicon and boron metal alloys melting at temperatures higher than 1385°C, and allowing for the storage of amounts in the range of 2-4 MJ/kg, an order of magnitude higher than those currently used with salts. In addition, the project is searching for a material able to contain these molten metals over long periods with minimal amounts of thermal losses, as well as the development of solid state devices able to achieve an efficient conversion of heat into electricity.

In parallel with this development, AMADEUS is working on a new concept, combining thermionic and photovoltaic effects to achieve direct conversion of heat into electricity. Unlike conventional heat engines, this system does not require physical contact with the heat source, as it is based on direct electron emission (thermionic effect) and photon emission (thermophotovoltaic effect), enabling an ultra-high temperature operation. Besides the capability of operation at high temperatures, these new devices would also lead to the simplification of the whole system as well as an important cost reduction.

This FET-Open project, coordinated by researchers at Institute of Solar Energy of the Technical University of Madrid, counts on seven partners from six European countries, with experience in the fields of metallurgy, thermal isolation, fluid dynamics and solid-state heat-to-power conversion. If you are interested to learn more, please visit AMADEUS’ website.