Solar energy storage

Solar energy is the best alternative in lieu of the existing system of electricity discharge. Solar panels made with materials for absorbing the energy of the sun are used to help convert the light into electricity. Along with the generation of solar energy the storage is equally necessary for later use. For the solar power system to work you need to have a PV panel and a storage system. The PV panels functions to generate electricity and the storage system stores the energy for future use.

Batteries for storage

Batteries are the most common methods for storage of solar energy. There are 2 types of batteries available. They are nickel cadmium and lead acid. The lead acid batteries are cheap and preferred for solar energy storage. They are similar to your car battery. The nickel cadmium battery also functions in the same manner but are expensive. However the nickel cadmium batteries discharge more electricity and also last longer.

Due to the mechanism fitted in the solar panels the battery gets charged even when there is not enough sunlight concentration on the panels. Thus it is possible to run all your electrical appliances in all circumstances where the light that hits the solar panels may differ in amounts.

Natural zeolites for solar energy storage
Zeolite is a mineral made of alkali or alkaline earth metal with crystal water. Experiments conducted using the 13X synthetic zeolites have shown positive results for solar energy storage. Further studies showed that natural zeolites could be used as replacements for the synthetic zeolites for solar energy storage. The amount of radiation that the solar energy emits differs with the weather changes, the season and day and night conditions in the same place.

Hence it is a problem to fulfill the demand of some energy users due to the availability of solar energy that depend on various factors. This leads to problems even in solar energy storage. There are generally 3 ways of storing solar energy.

Sensible heat storage
For the solar energy units that have middle and low temperatures the cheapest way of storing energy is to use water and stones. The energy that is collected by the collectors increase the temperatures of the storing mediums to allow storage of the energy in these mediums and when required the heat is used. In this method of solar energy storage the concentration level is low and the duration is also short.

Latent heat storage
In this type of solar energy storage the medium for storing the energy has features like absorption of big energy, less volume and corrosion and greater repeating capabilities. At present the most effective mediums for this type of solar energy storage are hydrate carbonates, nitrates and sulphates. In latent heat storage method the energy storing density is high with longer periods of storage. The medium can be cooled easily also which makes it difficult for the medium to crystallize.

Chemical reaction energy storage
Here, the endothermic reaction of the chemicals is used for storing the solar energy. When the process is inversed the heat is released. Here some inorganic oxides are also used as the medium. By using this method you benefit by storing heat in larger quantities and for longer periods of time. For the generation of high temperature by the endothermic reactions the equipments that are needed are very costly.

Zeolites have the unique characteristics to absorb and deabsorb water which makes it the preferred material for solar energy storage. When the zeolites are heated the water molecules escape and the heat energy is stored. When the process of reabsorbing the water molecules starts the heat energy is released.

One Response to “Solar energy storage”

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