In Finland, the worldʼs first sand accumulator started working. How does it work?

Anna Kholodnova

In Finland, the worldʼs first sand battery, which allows you to store energy from the sun, wind and other renewable sources, has started working.

This is reported by the BBC.

The first such device went into operation at the base of the Vatayankoski power plant in the western part of Finland.

The battery looks like a giant metal bunker, its volume is one hundred tons. "Green" energy is used to heat a container filled with cheap dirty sand. It can be heated to a temperature of about 500 ° C.

Hot air circulates inside the battery chamber. This air is then used to heat the water supplied to the central heating system. Already from there, heat reaches homes and offices and even heats the local swimming pool.

Sand has a high heat capacity, so energy can be stored in this way for several months. It can be used to heat the house in the cold season.

A sand battery can be an alternative to lithium batteries, which are much more expensive, take up a lot of space and do not tolerate overcharging very well.

"If in the coldest winter period the power plants can only work for a few hours a day, heating will be very, very expensive. But if we get the opportunity to store this energy and, if necessary, quickly redirect it back to the grid, the savings from such storage can be huge," says Elina Seppjanen, who deals with energy and climate issues in the city administration.