Siemens Developing New Thermal Storage System for Wind Energy

By Editors of Power Engineering

Siemens, alongside Technical University Hamburg Harburg, is researching a thermal storage system for wind power.

The system, dubbed Future Energy Solution, converts wind energy to heat at up to 600 degrees Celsius and then stores it in an insulated rock fill that’s integrated into the natural landscape.

When there’s a need for additional electricity, a steam turbine converts the heat back into electricity.

The project, which has received research funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is currently being tested in Hamburg, with a goal of improving efficiency via the arrangement of the rock fill and the form of the surrounding insulating container. Full testing of converting electricity to heat and back to electricity will begin in spring 2017.

Siemens estimates the full-sized system should be able to store 36 MWh within 2,000 cubic meters of rock. A boiler should generate steam output of up to 1.5 MW, 24 hours a day.

Researchers expect effectiveness of 25 percent in the development phase, with a potential effectiveness of 50 percent.

"The technology of our FES store deliberately uses mainly tried and trusted technology," said Till Barmeier, Siemens' project manager. "Because we are working here with tested thermal components and a series-ready steam turbine, we will be able to offer a practical solution within a few years. Our complete experimental system will be operational in just around 15 months."

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