Are solar and wind the only contenders in Renewable energy? An Italian energy startup, Magaldi, is attempting experiments with hot sand, which could power homes and other locations. Converting hot sand into electricity is an innovative idea, and the project is still in its initial stages of development.
Sand has a lot of functionality and Magaldi is reportedly harnessing solar energy with the use of sand. The company is attempting at reflecting the sunlight onto a light mirror, which in turn directs the light on a tank full of silica sand. The light from the sun, when reflected on the sand ultimately heats up and is ready to be used as a renewable energy source. All this is attributed to the tank filled with sand acting as a boiler, in the context of it being powered by sunlight.
When the sun warms up conventionally, the upper layers of the sands warm up and the rest of the layers remain cold. Magaldi offers a method by which the sunlight reaches all layers of the sand, pushing the average temperature in the tank to around 6500C (11120F).
The heat generated is used to turn water into steam which is later passed through hi-end turbines. This helps generate effective energy, though it may not be in major quantities. The output as of now is set at two megawatts of power per module. The aim is to work around building a few dozen units, which would consist of ten modules that produced around 21.5 megawatts of power in total. This seems to be an ambitious goal to be achieved by a deadline set at early Q4 2017.
What makes sand so valuable to the Italian company? It is the property of the material which has the power of retention of heat for a longer period. Even with the sunlight disappearing behind the clouds, the sand would be able to generate energy successfully and this would be apt even if the production would drop off. Sand is attributed with more efficiency than the solar panels. The downside is the impracticality of placing a few tons of sand on the rooftops of customers.
In conclusion, sand is a powerful alternative and how Magaldi turns this concept to reality, is a question which will be answered in times to come.