Molten salt thermal energy storage systems are used during times when energy is not needed. The liquid salt is stored as thermal energy in highly insulated tanks at a temperature of 300-500 degrees Celsius, depending on the type of salt being stored. These systems most commonly utilize sodium nitrate and/or potassium nitrate due to their non-corrosive nature.
When energy is needed, the salt is pumped into a steam generator where the hot salt boils water. The steam produced from the boiling water turns a turbine generator, which produces energy. After the salt cools, it is pumped back into the storage system where it is reheated to prepare for another use (Dodaro, 2015).
In my opinion, using molten salt as a form of alternative energy production/storage seems like a good option if we can create more plants. Right now, there are very few molten salt plants; therefore, the process does not create much energy. “The largest molten salt solar plant, located in United States, can produce 110 Megawatt of electricity. While the largest solar power plant can produce more than 2,000 Megawatt of energy, almost a third of the largest coal power plant with 6,720 Megawatt” (sataksig, 2020). Molten nitrate salt has a volumetric heat capacity of around 3,000
. That is roughly 1,000
more than similar synthetic heat transfer processes.
In addition, these salts do not pose hardly any hazard to the plant they are in or the surrounding areas. The only precaution that must be taken is to keep the salt away from open flames, sparks, or any sources of ignition as the salt will release oxygen when they break down, providing more fuel for a fire (McMullen, 2016