Metal hydrides can be utilized for hydrogen storage and for thermal energy storage (TES) applications. By using TES with solar technologies, heat can be stored from sun energy to be used later, which enables continuous power generation. We are developing a TES technology based on a dual-bed metal hydride system, which has a high-temperature (HT) metal hydride operating reversibly at 600–800 °C to generate heat, as well as a low-temperature (LT) hydride near room temperature that is used for hydrogen storage during sun hours until there is the need to produce electricity, such as during night time, a cloudy day or during peak hours. We proceeded from selecting a high-energy density HT-hydride based on performance characterization on gram-sized samples scaled up to kilogram quantities with retained performance. COMSOL Multiphysics was used to make performance predictions for cylindrical hydride beds with varying diameters and thermal conductivities. Based on experimental and modeling results, a ~200-kWh/m3
bench-scale prototype was designed and fabricated, and we demonstrated the ability to meet or exceed all performance targets.
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