Peter Kelly
Given that the energy from the sun far exceeds what we use (we just don't have the capability to utilise it) then any method to efficiently gather and store it is very welcome indeed. Sadly, though, I expect that for the world to really profit from such technology would require extraordinary cooperation, making use of those areas of the planet which have the most intense and constant sun to be used to provide universal power. Given the state we are in now, I can't see that happening!
VincentWolf
I disagree with Kelly. There is so much desert out there for the taking unused, unappreciated. It will happen when the technology is there. And this is a good news for the entire planet.
mike65401
Isn't glass mostly molten silica? Peter Kelly. 25% of all power generated is lost in transmission. It is not efficient to concentrate solar collectors in dry climates and then transmit to more cloudy regions. BTW, just think of how much more solar development could be implemented in the US if the money wasted on corn alcohol was spent on solar.
D_trigger2113
pretty sure silicon and oxygen aren't elements last time I checked.
EZ
This is good example of how the "energy-industrial complex" works. I knew a man, who had a better option than salt about 30 years ago. It was called sand. The government didn't want it but never explained why not. Maybe it was too cheap.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Silicon and oxygen are elements. Look at the periodic table. When desert solar becomes cost competitive it will attract population, as with past energy revolutions.
Don Duncan
Geothermal requires no storage, is viable in the entire state of Nevada, and ticks every box. Given no politics, it would be our main source of energy. Fix the tax & regulate problem that is transferring wealth from the 99.9%, and killing innovation, then all our other problems will be solved by a "freed up market".
StWils
Great step forward! Like many ideas deploying it successfully is location dependent. This is an example of a technology that should work out well in many hot dry climates. Few people know that in Niagara Falls NY, there is a huge man made pond that is filled up slowly at night by diverting some of the water flow overnight. During the day the stored water is shunted to turbines so that the falls can flow at full force while tourists are around. While the Falls are never really "turned off" to store water enough is diverted to enable stable high quality energy generation to support daytime demands. This molten salt approach and others are similarly capable of matching demand to an otherwise irregular source. I hope this succeeds and that the Kochs & other Oligopolists do not get a dime. Now, that would really require a suspension of disbelief.
Daniel Gregory
Once it reaches molten temperatures of 2550 F, what is used to contain such heat? What keeps it from cooling down? Why is no one talking about the super-capacitor like capabilities of graphene?
JasonDavidSteel
" Silicon's unique properties allow it to store more than 1 MWh of energy in a cubic meter – ten times more energy than salts." 4 questions that this non-physicist wants to make- [1]-Is that higher energy density than lithium based battery storage? It's definitely easier to mine/refine than lithium, and way more abundant. [2]-Could this tech solve the issues of cabin heating in an EV? [3] Are thermophotovoltaics more efficient than a steam turbine? [4]- How do super capacitors fit into this mix??