The Amadeus project, a revolutionary battery model designed to store large amounts of energy from renewable sources, has been chosen by the European Commission as one of the best inventions of 2022. The prototype developed by researchers at Complutense University of Madrid won. reward EU Innovation Radar In the “Kickstarter” category, competing are “high-potential innovations that are still in the early stages of development but already have a convincing and specific go-to-market strategy.”
The battery, developed by a team of Spanish scientists, stores excess energy generated during high solar or wind production as heat. This heat is used to make an incandescent material (the project is investigating alloys of silicon, one of the most common minerals in the Earth’s crust), which puts it above 1,000 degrees. Housed in a special container with thermo-photovoltaic panels oriented inside, the system can recover some of the energy when needed during high demand.
Researchers use a metaphor to explain this process: “It’s like putting the sun in a box.” His plan could revolutionize energy storage and make humanity more independent from fossil fuels. Its great potential to achieve this and become a key element in the fight against climate change earned Adeus the prize for best innovation among more than 300 projects submitted to the EU.
“The value proposition is to deliver a very low-cost system that can store large amounts of energy for long periods of time, that has high energy density, high overall efficiency, and uses abundant and inexpensive materials,” the project explains about the project. Organizing the EU Innovation Radar Award: “It is a modular system that can be used in a wide range of applications to demand clean heat and electricity.”
Amadeus has over a decade of research behind it. In 2019, researchers built the first prototype of the “sun box”, as told in a video report by elDiario.es.
For now, the research aims to move the prototype to an industrial version, for which it has already received a new line of funding from the European Union. The scientists hope that the prize, which does not have financial resources, will help them find new support to increase the project’s resources. They believe that Amadeus batteries can be used on a large scale to provide clean and cheap energy to industry as well as to homes or neighborhoods.
“We are very happy,” Amadeus project coordinator Alejandro Datas told this publication. “This is a recognition of over 10 years of work and effort to develop this technology that was at high risk of not working. We are trying to solve one of the most pressing problems humanity will face in the coming years, which is to stop global warming. We are very happy that this type of activity is recognized as something important at the European level,” he added.
This is a key recognition because it will allow us to have a lot of visibility and access to the resources we need to produce these systems on an industrial scale.
– Amadeus project coordinator
“The European Commission certified us as the best technology in the Kickstarter category, which means that we have not reached the market, but we have a lot of potential, is a key recognition because it will allow us to have a lot of visibility and reach.” The funds and resources we need to start industrial production of these systems, which we want to do in the coming years,” says Datas.
The 2022 EU Innovation Radar had two other categories to select the best inventions in health technology and the ones with the biggest environmental impact. The Belgian project won in the medical category Healthwhich has developed a mobile app that offers “care plans and digital pathways that go beyond traditional treatments, with registered technical and clinical tests” while offering doctors a “clinical dashboard” to oversee the treatment of their patients.
In the category of greatest environmental impact, the European Union awarded a Romanian project that “designs, develops and manufactures modern solutions for the production of topologically optimized building elements 40 times faster than currently used methods”, the organization explains. He is called sophisticated and also received European funds for its development. “In the field of architecture, the use of this technology can reduce the cost of building design by up to 60%, and in construction it can improve the weight-height ratio of buildings by 40%, generating lighter structures by eliminating excess materials.” which have no structural purpose,” Innovation Radar details.
The Datas team wasn’t the only one to see the potential of thermophotoelectric batteries. They have two important competitors: the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Californian startup Antora Energy. The latter, which is focused on the creation of large batteries for heavy industry (one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels) received last February. 50 million dollars To complete your investigation. One of the investment funds that participated is Breakthrough Energy VenturesThe umbrella that manages Bill Gates’ investments in renewable technologies.
MIT researchers published the paper in April in nature in which they showed that their thermophotoelectric battery model is already able to reuse 40% of the energy invested in heating the materials inside the prototype. “This creates a way for thermal energy storage to achieve high enough efficiency and low enough cost to decarbonize the electricity grid,” they explained.
The Spanish project has not yet measured how much energy it can recover, but it has an advantage over the American one. “To achieve this efficiency, they have to go through much higher temperatures, up to 2,400 degrees,” Dattas explained to this media recently. “We work at 1200 degrees. At these temperatures, the efficiency will be slightly less than the MIT efficiency, but we have much less problems with thermal insulation, because it is very difficult to keep the material at 2400 degrees without losing heat,” he noted.
American projects have a greater technical challenge to obtain a container that can store material at such high temperatures. Instead, Amadeus’ research is focused on finding the most suitable silicon alloy to reuse the energy invested in heating it.
Source: El Diario