Group „High temperature heat storage and process technology“
In the KArlsruhe Liquid Metal LAboratory (KALLA), liquid metals are used for chemical processes at temperatures beyond 1000°C. The heat transfer properties of liquid metals are outstanding, but also other characteristics such as a comparatively high density, which favours certain separation effects, make them excellent transfer and process fluids. The possible applications of liquid metals currently being investigated in process technology at KALLA include the CO2-free production of hydrogen by the thermochemical splitting of methane in liquid tin and the use of vapour sodium as a catalyst in the anhydrous production of formaldehyde for synthetic fuels. The combination of methane pyrolysis with further process steps to produce carbon black from atmospheric CO2 is an example of a process chain in which so-called Negative Emissions Technologies (NET) serve as the basis for value products. At KALLA, reaction mechanisms of high-temperature processes with liquid metals are investigated on a laboratory and pilot scale and reactor concepts are developed. Research focuses include heat transfer in liquid metal and bubble and fluid dynamics in liquid metal bubble column reactors.
In the context of the energy transition (“Energiewende”), the storage of energy is of great importance, as many renewable sources such as sun and wind are subject to natural fluctuations, caused by daily and annual variations, but also by weather conditions. Storage is the key to compensating for this fluctuating supply and providing energy on demand. With the help of liquid metals, it is possible to store thermal energy at very high temperatures beyond 600°C, which are typical for industrial, often energy-intensive high-temperature processes. Heat storage can also be used, for example, to enable efficient large-scale electricity storage by means of electricity-heat-electricity systems and thus realise a flexibilisation of the energy system.
Within the framework of the KIT junior research group "Liquid metal-based heat storage - key to CO2-free high-temperature processes", the technical feasibility of fixed-bed storage systems with liquid metals as heat transfer medium is demonstrated. For this purpose, we are investigating heat storage systems from laboratory to pilot scale in experimental operation, testing the use of components (pumps, valves) for closed-loop operation and, in the course of this, developing our own measurement technology for flowing liquid metal. The work is completed by comprehensive numerical simulation of the complex mass and heat transport processes in the heat storage systems.
Are you interested in a research stay in our facility? We are an infrastructure of the H2020 project StoRIES and therefore, you have the possibility to visit us via an application for a Trans National Access. Please contact Dr. Klarissa Niedermeier for further information (klarissa.niedermeier∂kit.edu).
Dr.-Ing. Klarissa Niedermeier
Phone +49 721/608-26902
MTET Picture a Scientist - Portrait Klarissa Niedermeier: https://www.mtet.kit.edu/803.php