The solar power is a resource that is in exponential growth in the north of Chile, especially now that two thermal plants are being built in the Antofagasta Region. This fact motivated to the scientists of the Antofagasta Energetic Develop Center (CDEA) of the University of Antofagasta (UA) to investigate and demonstrate how the Lithium Nitrate can improve and optimize the storage processes of the solar power; all this through an FIC-R project.
How the Lithium Nitrate would work
According to what the scientists of the UA explain, this material has numerous advantages that could be very useful in the mix of salts that storage the heat in the power plants. Some of these virtues are, its ability to decrease the melting point, increase the thermic stability and its undeniable calorific property.
For this reason, they suggest adding lithium nitrate to the mixture of potassium nitrate (40%) and sodium nitrate (60%) that is used at the inside of the solar concentration plants for the power storage. This additive would produce a considerable save due to it would decrease the melting point in about 100 Celsius degrees.
In accordance with the last assumption, the initiative is looking for the business of the region to produce the material, because, just as the calculus says, its consumption could reach in 40 years the 15 thousand tonnes for each project.
The Dr. Angel Fernández told to the Universidad de Antofagasta that “The lithium nitrate is a strategical mineral present in the north of Chile, that’s why we are trying that some companies start producing it. For that reason, we pretend to transfer a production process simpler that would increase the economic benefits”.
The project of the UA scientist has received a funding that reaches the 133 million from the Fund for the Regional Innovation and Competitivity of the Antofagasta Region and it has the name of “Valorization of the production chain of the lithium nitrate and its proposal as new material for the thermal storage”.
For its realization, they set in motion the Salts Laboratory since December 2015 and inside it, there are all the needed tools for the elaboration of this study. The plant is used to test the good results that were previously obtained and to demonstrate the efficiency of the proposal.
Today they’ve become the pioneers when we talk about melted salts and the initiative has been noticed, getting to assist to meetings in Spain and the United States.
Did you like this article? Which other advantages of the lithium nitrate do you know?