Steelhead Specialty Minerals zeolites have a high heat of adsorption and their ability to hydrate and dehydrate while maintaining structural stability are useful in various heat storage and solar refrigeration systems. This hygroscopic property, coupled with an inherent exothermic reaction when taken from a dehydrated to hydrated form (heat of adsorption), makes natural zeolites effective in the storage of solar and waste heat energy.
Low energy density and time of availability have been key problems in the use of solar and waste heat energy. Commercial storage systems have been developed incorporating Steelhead Specialty Minerals zeolites which overcome these problems. These systems are capable of operating from solar, industrial waste head and other thermal polluters, thereby converting underutilized resources into useful energy.
The capacity of natural zeolites to store heat energy and adsorb water vapor used in that exchange of energy comes from their honeycomb structure and resultant high internal surface are.
When “charged” with heat, Steelhead Specialty Minerals zeolites can store latent heat energy indefinitely if maintained in a controlled environment and not exposed to water vapor. This stored energy can be liberated as needed by simple addition of controlled amounts of water vapor which initiates the exothermic reaction. Most other storage media lack this basic property.
Heat storage units using natural zeolites reduce dependence on secondary/backup heating systems and allow for efficient and safe use of waste heat.
The principle of adsorption-desorption can be utilized as a key component in the refrigeration. In this case, natural zeolites are used as a transfer mechanism moving water as refrigerant through the condensers and evaporators. The efficiency of the system is based on the non-linearity of the natural zeolites’ adsorption isotherms as compared to pressure. Steelhead Specialty Minerals zeolites will adsorb water vapor at low partial pressure and desorb a majority of it at high partial pressure. This difference in partial pressure may be achieved through temperature changes which would be experienced in a solar panel going from high day temperatures to low night temperatures.