In case you haven’t been following the latest science news or are simply unaware of it, the common sand we don’t usually give any second thoughts to, is actually now being used as a sort of thermal battery.
You might be wondering why this is an important information to know, but please, let me explain the reason: As we all know, the issue of climate change has increasingly forced many electricity generation companies to switch from non-renewable energy sources to renewables.
Burning Oil and Coal to generate electricity has been generating a lot of negative flak while solar and wind electricity generation is soaring in popularity. But there is something inherently problematic about solar and wind energy: they are intermittent.
This is the reason why some days they generate no electricity and in some days, they generate more electricity than people need. Electricity producers however plan to solve this problem by storing excess wind and solar energy in batteries.
One of the battery being considered for large scale storage of wind and solar energy is Thermal Storage or in the case of those involved in the renewable energy industry: Thermal Battery Storage.
The concept is simple. In the case of wind or solar energy for example, the excess energy from these sources are used to heat a very heat absorbent material which stores thermal heat for a long time.
The stored thermal heat from this very heat absorbent material is then used to generate electricity when wind and solar energy are not present or are unreliable. In the case of solar for example, at night when the sun doesn’t shine anymore.
To know more about this topic, you can simply Google or search in YouTube for example for such articles using the keywords: ”sand as thermal storage”. One reason why many experts in energy storage like to use sand is because it is for one, quite abundant.
To be precise, our deserts are filled with sand. Yes, you heard it right, desert sand might have finally found a very useful purpose which might mean that they can be very valuable in the future.
Of course, not many people live in areas where the climate is very hot and the entire area is filled with sand. But if you happen to live in such a place, this could be an opportunity for you to save and earn money as well.
Let’s tackle first the saving part. It has to do with saving on cooking costs. Maybe you’ve guessed it by now, but it’s entirely possible to cook food by just using hot sand. Here’s a YouTube video which proves this:
YouTube Video: The Primitive Way of Frying Eggs Using Only Sand. 9 Unique Videos of Cooking in the Nature
The video shows a very simple way to cook food using just sand. All that one needs to do is to cover completely the food they are cooking and bury it completely in hot sand. This is how simple this is.
You can say that the hot sand is duplicating the oven or the microwave in terms of heating and cooking food. This usefulness cannot be underestimated. One of the biggest household costs is the use of electricity, gas, kerosene and even coal to cook food.
But we cannot underestimate the issue of health in terms of cooking with sand. And if you ever watched the above linked YouTube video, you would notice that it has been discussed that there are people who are used to eating food which contains sand.
But is sand really dangerous? Please don’t take these videos I’m linking as sound medical or even scientific advise, but they prove that eating sand and dirt is entirely possible. These videos, however, should be watched with caution:
1. YouTube Video: Haitians eat dirt cookies to survive
2. YouTube Video: Tokyo restaurant where you pay $100 to eat dirt
As you can see from the videos, Haitians eat buttered and salted soil as a replacement for what we call as “real foods” because they don’t have money to buy real food. The Japanese sand cuisine video is not unique, I have seen similar videos by other Japanese restaurants.
Now that we know that eating sand is entirely possible and even celebrated in some places like some restaurants in Japan, we can be rest assured that it is perfectly possible to replace our stoves, ovens and microwave with hot sand if you have access to it.
But I’m sure that not many people have the chance to eat food that is cooked from hot sand. And this very information can be profitable for enterprising people. Our question would be: “Could I open a restaurant where I serve food cooked from hot sand?”
Right off the bat, one of the plus sides of this business is that you don’t have any cooking expenses. All you need is to have access to a place where the sand is constantly hot so you can cook throughout the day.
As already said before, sand is good at storing thermal/heat energy. It might even be entirely possible for you to store the heat of hot sand during the day and then use the stored thermal/heat energy to cook at night.
If you are able to market your restaurant right and highlight the fact that you are cooking food that use environmentally friendly methods, you would attract the growing market of diners who are not only environmentally conscious but also interested in new kinds of cooking methods.
If you have been reading my articles for some time now, you would notice that from time to time, I turn to Japan as a source of inspiration in writing some of my articles. Here is another idea I got from Japan: Sand Sauna.
I don’t know if the idea originated from Japan or if it is already widespread knowledge, but I know that the Japanese Sand Sauna idea has been duplicated by other people in other countries.
To have an idea of how sand saunas operate, you can simple turn to YouTube and use the search keyword: “sand sauna” to have an idea of how simple the business is. Sand is heated naturally like by being in a thermally active area like near volcanos or hot steams.
Lacking access to such thermally active places, other sand sauna businesses have resorted to heating sand artificially. The owners of these businesses claim that the warm sand excretes the stored toxins in people’s bodies.
This kind of business is especially ideal for businesses with a lot of natural access to hot sand. Not only will the business save by not having to heat the sand, they will also be looked on positively as a very nature based business.
The rays of the sun bombard the surface of the earth for more than twelve hours a day. The ground below us absorb a lot of this heat. This is the reason why in some places, touching the ground with your bare feet can lead to scorching surprises, especially if you touch sand.
This is the reason that there are many houses heated with underground heating systems. The technology is simple: The sun hits the ground which then stores heat, this heat is then pumped inside the house for use during cold weather conditions.
Imagine if you could harness or for lack of a better word, amplify this and turn your house into a real live sauna complete with hot water. I know that this would only work in places where the weather is extreme like in deserts, but hear me out.
Let’s assume that you live in the desert. You can heat the water in your sauna by using a number of methods. You can use underground heating systems, mirrors and direct sunlight, solar and so on. This would save you a lot of money already in heating cost.
If for some reason you are unable to heat the water reliably, you can use marketing to repackage your hot water sauna to a cold water sauna during the times when your water is not hot.
Of course the possibility that sand would be used widely by hi-tech companies as a cheap thermal battery storage material to store and generate electrical energy is becoming more of a reality day by day.
As already mentioned, sand is plentiful and cheap and maybe even free at times. And materials like sand soil and other earthen materials store thermal energy. Science also tells us that the deeper you are in the earth, the more it gets hotter.
All this got me into thinking if whether storing thermal energy very deep in the earth is possible. No, I’m not talking about geothermal energy, I’m only talking about thermal energy within a few feet below the ground.
This is a sample video of how easily the thermal heat from the ground can be accessed: YouTube Video: Poor Man's Geothermal. There are still other similar videos in YouTube which are more expansive.
But I guess, everyone can understand the concept, imagine if this simple technology is scaled up to a very large scale. We can imagine deserts being dotted with thermal storage facilities that store thermal energy which can be converted to electrical energy.
Of course these saving and money making opportunities only exist for people who live in places where the ground catches and stores a lot of thermal energy from the sun. This especially applies for people living in deserts for example.
But not only people living in deserts, the opportunity also applies for people living in areas where there is a lot of geothermal energy like in volcanic areas and places where there are plenty of hot streams.
I can for example imagine people who own natural steam bath businesses also offering food cooked from the naturally steamed waters in their area. Onsen is the Japanese word used to describe such places.
Selling desert sand can be a hard business, but let’s not forget that there are already enterprising businesses who sell ice made from icebergs and even icebergs themselves for people who want the taste of icebergs.
Perhaps there might be enterprising businesses who would be able to sell desert sand to people living in snow covered areas permanently, you know as a thermal storing material. This might be a business you could look into.
Sand is a very abundant material which can be found in many places of the world. Entire deserts are filled with sand that are just simply unused. But sand is an excellent thermal storage material.
This makes it ideal for cooking purposes and for all other uses where the use of stored heat is needed. It might even be possible that sand would be abundantly used as a thermal battery storage material.
Being a man, I always envied people especially men who have man caves or workshops. Living in a standard house, with no such spaces, I always feel that the house that I live in is not complete...