As part of a Futuris episode dedicated to the European research project AMADEUS, we asked one of the scientists taking part about the challenges of storing energy at high temperatures.
In a laboratory in Trondheim, Norway, researchers involved in the AMADEUS project want to see if metal smelting can be used to produce batteries that store energy by latent heat at temperatures up to 2000ºC.
What materials are they using? What are the challenges do the scientists face? What is the potential of silicon and boron?
The potential of Silicon and boron
Futuris asked Merete Tangstad, a materials specialist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
"Silicon and boron are two of the elements that have the highest difference in energy between liquid and solid states. So we started with that. However, there are a lot of challenges only using these two elements. And one of those big challenges is that when silicon goes from liquid state to solid state, it expands, just like water," explains Tangstad.
"Water and silicon are actually one of the few materials that expand, right, when it solidifies. So when it expands, it can destroy the container," she adds.
"So that is why we are mixing silicon with other elements to reduce the expansion during solidification."