Making the move away from using fossil fuels for heating is a necessary part of creating a sustainable future, but it’s often a difficult ask for many people when turning up a thermostat on a gas or electric heater provides instant, trouble-free warmth. If people are to be convinced to switch to more renewable sources, it makes sense that there need to be easy-to-use systems available to encourage them to do so. A group of Swiss researchers claim to have come up with a process that stores heat captured during summer for easy, flick-of-a-switch use in winter, with the added benefit that the captured energy can be physically transported anywhere it may be needed.
Created by researchers working at EMPA (Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs-und ForschungsAnstalt or, in English, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research), the new system uses concentrated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as the thermal storage medium, and a collection of largely off-the-shelf components to capture, convert, and release heat energy on demand.
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