During an incubation period, a team of students of the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, known under the project name “Team Solid”, build a 25 kW installation to test the concept of burning iron powder in order to drive a Stirling engine. Now the technology has left the laboratory stage and went prime time in a brewery near the university.
[ironfuel.nl] – Project site
[tue.nl] – TU/e demonstrates iron fuel at brewery Bavaria: a new circular and CO2-free fuel for the industry
[deepresource] – Iron Powder as a Fuel
[deepresource] – TU-Eindhoven Gets Grant to Further Develop Metal Fuels
[deepresource] – Metal Fuel Gets a Subsidy Boost
Pictures of the installation at the Swinkels brewery in Lieshout
The ambition level is high: 10 MW installations in 2024, by 2030 retrofitting an existing coal power plant (think 1 GW).
Some doubts remain regarding the efficiency of this energy storage type:
[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Energieopslag in ijzerpoeder bij Bavaria, innovatief maar inefficiënt
Response project leader Tim Spee to this “wattisduurzaam” article: estimated efficiency complete iron fuel cycle ca. 65%. 85-90% of the combustion heat can be converted in useful process heat. For a complete cycle the efficiency of converting renewable electricity into process steam for brewing beer is 55-59%.
How to reduce iron oxide back to iron powder? This is a problem the metal fuel people have in common with people running a steel plant, with iron ore as input: