UAE’s Desert Sand can be used to Store Solar Energy
Researchers working at Masdar Institute have discovered that the UAE’s desert sand can be used in concentrated solar power facilities to store solar energy, making it a viable and cost-effective alternative to the current materials being used. Naming the project Sandstock, the scientists carried out a number of tests using X-ray devices to analyse and study the chemical make-up of the sand, with the results showing the sand contained quartz and carbonate materials, the right compositions needed for thermal storage.
The research also revealed that the sand could store solar energy up to 1,000°C, making it a more efficient material as it can absorb energy at such high temperatures. Dr Nicholas Calvet said the findings would be a major benefit for the UAE’s sustainable energy solutions. “The availability of this material in desert environments such as the UAE allows for significant cost reductions in novel concentrated solar power plants, which we may use both as thermal energy storage material and solar absorber,” he said.