Swiss research centre developing technology for storing summer heat

The ‘Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research’ is developing an impressive project for seasonal heat storage. Currently in the prototype stage, the system allows heat from the summer to be stored for use in the winter.

The system uses the natural properties of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) (also known as lye or caustic soda), which is naturally very hygroscopic; meaning water molecules are extremely attracted to it.


Using the energy

To use the energy the system pours water on the substance, the substances mix and energy is released as heat, this heat can then be piped through heat exchangers to provide heating for the home which can be accessed at the flip of a switch.

Charging the system

The sodium hydroxide is mixed with water, when the mixture is heated in the summer, the water evaporates leaving concentrated sodium hydroxide. This concentrated chemical can be stored for months and can be easily transported.

Written by TreeThinker

Passionate about the Earth and those who inhabit it. An engineer (BEng (Hons), MSEE) from Oxfordshire, UK, specialising in designing for a sustainable future. A member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and a keen environmental advocate who volunteers for several grass roots sustainability groups. I work full time as a project manager for a renewable energy company based in Oxford and also run ‘TreeThinker’ (; converting previous pasture land into a rich permaculture farm growing produce for sale locally. I deliver workshops on sustainable living, including building renewable energy technologies, as well as workshops for schools discussing 'Energy as a resource' amongst other topics. I am qualified in ‘Information, advice and guidance’ (level 4) and experienced at teaching practical skills. I'm also a keen cyclist and have a love of wordplay - writing a blog on etymology (

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