"Nothing is more fun than explaining something to people that amazes them," says Wies Ruyters, marketing manager at Team SOLID, and she happily tells us again about the technology behind metal fuels. "With the CO2-free combustion of iron powder very high temperatures are released, of which steam and electricity can be made. The residual rust powder that remains, can be transformed into iron powder with wind and solar energy. That makes the process completely circular!"
Team captain Geert Vergoossen adds: "Two things are important here. You can store and transport endlessly in this way and there is therefore never a shortage of iron powder. The other advantage is that high temperatures can be achieved with this flame in a short time. This goes much slower using electrical heating. The industry needs high temperatures and also a lot of power at the same time. There are no such thick cables available."
Heavy metal in Budel
Team SOLID, which started three years ago as an Honors Academy team led by professor Philip de Goey, recently received a million euros from the province of Noord-Brabant. The intention is to develop an industrial application for the incineration of metal powder as an energy storage medium in Budel-Dorplein, on the site of the Metalot campus which is still to be developed,. In addition, companies have also invested money, working hours and materials into the project. The total budget is about 2.4 million euros.
Team SOLID sees the applications for power plants and in the industry and maritime sector. Vergoossen: "The power plants now use coal and have to stop doing so according to the climate agreement. You can possibly convert them into iron powder power plants. These can be used as a large-scale seasonal storage of energy. In the summer you convert rust with sun and wind into iron powder. In the winter you burn that to make steam or electricity."
Iron is compact but heavy. That’s not practical in a truck, but in container ships it wouldn’t be a problem. Team SOLID, consisting of five full-timers and almost twenty part-timers since this academic year, will now map how the process can be applied. In the team, the tasks have been divided into the parts management, finance, business, HR, marketing and technology.
This summer Team SOLID will demonstrate the system to an industrial partner. The intention is to supply a hundred kilowatts of steam. The team does not want to say anything about the location or on which days. This will be kept a secret until the official announcement in the Blauwe Zaal on the 27th of February. Everyone is welcome at this symposium with DIFFER's director Richard van de Sanden as a speaker.
A warm welcome as well for ambitious students in the TU/e innovation Space, where team Solid has its home base, even when the tests will be carried out in Budel. "Anyone who is determined and enthusiastic about the further development of Team SOLID can apply for a job," says Vergoossen. "An extra advantage of the allocated budget is that we can now reimburse a part of the tuition fees for the full-time employees."