U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

SunShot Initiative

Low-Cost Metal Hydride Thermal Energy Storage System

Savannah River National Laboratory logo Illustration of a two cylinder-shaped objects next to a green circle.

Diagram of a metal hydride thermal energy storage system showing both the daytime and nighttime operation of a pair of high-temperature and low-temperature metal hydride vessels. In this example, the power plant is shown as a steam generator, but other power plant options can also be considered. Image from SRNL

The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), under the National Laboratory R&D competitive funding opportunity, is collaborating with Curtin University (CU) to evaluate new metal hydride materials for thermal energy storage (TES) that meet the SunShot cost and performance targets for TES systems.


The project will apply a unique approach that uses the hierarchal modeling methodology developed by SRNL as part of the DOE Hydrogen Storage Center of Excellence project. The project team will leverage its combined expertise in metal hydride materials and engineered systems to screen several promising metal hydride materials and select the best candidates for more thorough evaluation. Bench-scale testing and more detailed component and system models will lead to a proof-of-concept demonstration and a preliminary system design. The project will ultimately design, fabricate, and evaluate a prototype low-cost and high-performance metal hydride energy storage system.


Metal hydride systems have properties that could substantially lower the size and capital cost of many TES systems. A new class of metal hydrides, often referred to as complex metal hydrides, enables much higher capacities and operating temperatures. The amount of thermal energy that can be stored per kilogram of metal hydride is typically large—often 15 to 20 times more than what can be stored in traditional molten-salt systems. The higher energy density provided by the use of metal hydride systems also can reduce CSP TES system size and cost.

Publications, Patents, and Awards

At this time, this project does not have published articles, patents, or awards.

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Learn about other DOE competitive awards for concentrating solar power research that are in progress.