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Recyclable metal fuels as future zero-carbon energy carrier


What if small metal particles were the future of energy? The possibility to use metal powder to store energy from intermittent renewable energy sources arises naturally as a close to zero GHG emission well-to-wheel specific reduction process can be performed from the oxidized metal particulates using concentrated solar energy. Micron-sized metal powders are easily transportable and have a practically unlimited shelf life when protected from humidity in hermetically-sealed containers. Combustion of these metal particles releases a large amount of energy and has the advantage of not emitting carbon dioxide. These particles, burning in air or other oxidizers, produce metal oxides which can then be regenerated using solar energy. This cycle energy production / recycling can make it possible to store energy produced with renewable energy in a secure and sustainable way, so that it can be used where and when it is needed. The proposed talk describes the work undergone on this original and promising concept. It is part of a disruptive technology to solve the problem of global warming in the long term. Metal particles are likely to be used as a steady power source such as industrial burners. It appears that the durable stabilization of this type of flame requires a good control of the suspension of the particles. When burning aluminum, a very large part (>50%) of the energy is radiated from the reaction zone to the surrounding medium. This property, which results from the very high temperatures involved, will directly determine the heat recovery unit to be used. The oxides produced are heavier and bulkier than the initial particles, which may complicate their post-combustion storage. Their filtration remains quite easy, despite their nanometric size, due to their strong propensity to agglomerate. Almost complete filtration is achievable with conventional filtration systems. The formation of nitrogen oxides is favoured by high temperatures and an excess of oxygen. One solution to limit their concentration at the exhaust is to work close to stoichiometry.
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Dates and versions

hal-04199459 , version 1 (07-09-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04199459 , version 1


Fabien Halter, Christian Chauveau. Recyclable metal fuels as future zero-carbon energy carrier. IMEKO TC20: International Conference on Measurements of Energy, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Sep 2023, Braunschweig, Germany. ⟨hal-04199459⟩
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