Tampere Technical Creativity Award for a sand battery that stores renewable energy

The City of Tampere Technical Creativity of the Year 2022 Award (worth EUR 5,000) has been awarded to an innovative way of storing renewable energy in sand, the so-called sand battery, developed by Tommi Eros and Markku Ylönen. The sand battery is recognized globally as one of the most promising technologies to enable the rapid growth of wind and solar power.
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Polar Night Energy Oy founders Tommi Eronen (vas.) and Markku Ylönen received the Technical Creativity Award.

The sand battery is a high temperature thermal energy storage that uses sand or sand-like materials as its storage medium. The temperature of the sand can be over 600 degrees Celsius. Its main purpose is to work as a large-scale reservoir for excess wind and solar energy. It refines clean and cheap surplus electricity to valuable heat, when needed most.

The core of the solution is a patented closed loop heat transfer mechanism in a massive solid material thermal energy storage. It enables the upscaling of solar or wind energy to up to 100 % of customers heating and electricity needs.

The sand battery is a versatile solution that can easily be connected to existing infrastructure, making it an ideal choice for a variety of industrial applications and district heating networks.

Eronen and Ylönen founded Polar Night Energy Oy in 2018 in Tampere, Finland. Polar Night Energy’s vision is to decarbonize energy production and be the global market leader in large-scale thermal energy storages for renewable energy.

Honorable mentions for two innovations

Honorable mentions were also awarded to Fahad Sohrab, Aysen Degerli and Ari Sillanpää.

Researchers from Tampere, Finland, Aysen Degerli and Fahad Sohrab have developed an innovative framework for early heart attack detection using multi-view echocardiography recordings and one-class classification techniques. This groundbreaking solution has the potential to significantly improve heart attack detection and diagnosis, leading to better patient outcomes. With support from advanced signal processing and AI algorithms, the software provides decision support for multi-view echocardiography, making it an invaluable tool for smart hospitals.

Ari Sillanpää's innovation is a continuous pyrolysis process feeder, which enables an uninterrupted flow of waste, independent of size and material, to be fed into an oxygen-free state. The equipment has been developed to serve continuous pyrolysis of rubber and plastics and to reduce and eliminate the need for pre-treatment of the waste stream. The equipment allows a continuous steady feed and prevents air from entering the process. The equipment has been developed for the pyrolysis process at Wastewise Group Oy.

The Technical Creativity Awards was presented on 6 June during Tampere Smart City Week 2023. The City of Tampere has been awarding the Technical Creativity Prize since 1981.

Further information

Katja Karintaus
Chairman of the Technical Creativity Awards Committee
Markku Ylönen
Polar Night Energy Oy
Tommi Eronen
Polar Night Energy Oy
Text: Raija Lindell
Photos: Polar Night Energy Oy
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