Australian engineers patent thermal blocks to store renewable energy

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NEWCASTLE: A team of engineers at Australia’s University of Newcastle has patented a material designed to store thermal energy in the form of a block, which its inventors hope can be used to facilitate the transition from coal-fired power.

Known as Miscibility Gaps Alloy (MGA), the bricks, made of aluminum and graphite, store energy generated from renewable sources, with research predicting that they can last for about 30 years without any change in reliability.

The co-inventor of the thermal block, Erich Kisi, said that his team worked with thermal converters, which create power through heat, when they got the groundbreaking idea to go into energy storage.

“The (most important) ingredients for the bricks are the aluminum particles that provide the latent heat, the melting energy that we are talking about,” said Kisi.

“So they will melt and solidify many thousands of times during the life of the block, but remain in place. They are held in place by graphite, in this case we have other systems but graphite is the main body.”

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