Ardi Vleugels / Article in the Financieel Dagblad, June 26

New knowledge must accelerate the energy transition and make the future more sustainable. That is why billions in subsidy money and corporate investments are going into research at universities. The FD went in search of these faces and faces of innovation. Will we soon be able to heat our homes with salt and water, for example?

Eindhoven professor Olaf Adan. 'The technology is so clean, you're left with 98% climate gain.' Photo: Merlin Daleman for the FD

In brief:

- Eindhoven University of Technology and TNO are working on a battery that stores waste heat.
- The innovation now has to prove itself in a pilot plant in Limburg.
- There is a lot of interest from home and abroad, but the question is whether the development is going fast enough to stay ahead of the competition.

The principle is amazingly simple, similar to a sealed bottle of salt grains. There is heat stored in the salt, which stays in it as long as you don't do anything to it. But that heat can be released by adding water to it. By storing the heat in salt, it is completely retained for an unlimited time and can be transported without loss.
That's essentially how the heat battery from Professor Olaf Adan of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and TNO works. It is a closed system with water and the salt composite potassium carbonate, which can also be found in cookies or baking powder. Adan has been working on this idea for twelve years, with the help of students, PhD students and thus TNO. To bring it to the market, the university and the research institute have for the first time set up a start-up together: Cellcius.

A substantial part of the €5 billion that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science reserves for higher education goes to scientific research. The business community is also investing in knowledge and innovations that will make the future more sustainable. The FD wants to give these innovations a face and therefore visits a number of projects at universities. However, these are at different stages of research and sometimes still have to prove themselves. Part 1 How a racing monster should give us all a super fast pit stop Part 2 Plants as antennas, so that we can listen to them better Part 3 Inventor of thermal battery is in a hurry: 'We are literally wasting energy now' Part 4 'The pollution caused by agricultural sensors must and can be reduced'
The system can store heat or energy, for example residual heat from low-temperature factories. That stored heat can be transported in separate modules without loss. For example, the system does not require a pipe system in which heat can cool along the way.

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