A hot silicon "sun in a box" to power 100,000 homes

The bulk of the world's electricity is generated in real time at hydroelectric power plants, thermal power plants and nuclear power plants. Renewables are a little more complicated: wind turbines and solar panels only generate electricity when the wind blows or the sun shines. Therefore, it becomes necessary to store this energy for later use.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Georgia Institute of Technology reported that they have found a new solution to this problem. The installation they created received the code name "Sun in a Box", and the concept itself - Thermal Energy Grid Storage-Multi-Junction Photovoltaics (TEGS-MPV).

Its essence lies in the fact that heat from the generated surplus wind and solar electricity is "pumped" into special tanks with liquid silicon heated to 2200 ° C. It is stored there, and if necessary, it can be converted into electricity at any time.

Based on the results of early tests, scientists predict that just one TEGS-MPV can store enough energy to light 100, 000 homes.

The TEGS-MPV system has a number of advantages: it is more affordable compared to lithium-ion batteries and is about half the cost of operating pumped storage power plants.