A ceramic-based mechanical pump able to operate at record temperatures of more than 1,400 degrees Celsius (1,673 Kelvin) can transfer high temperature liquids such as molten tin, enabling a new generation of energy conversion and storage systems.
The new pump could facilitate high efficiency, low-cost thermal storage, providing a new way to store renewable energy generated by wind and solar power, and facilitate an improved process for generating hydrogen directly from fuels such as methane – without producing carbon dioxide. Use of ceramic components, normally considered too brittle for mechanical systems, was made possible by precision machining – and seals made from another high-temperature material: graphite.
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