Molten Salt: The Future Of Energy Storage

Molten salt is a type of liquid salt that is used as a heat transfer fluid in various applications. It is a unique substance that has many advantages over traditional heat transfer fluids such as water and oil.

One of the main advantages of molten salt is its high thermal stability. It can operate at temperatures up to 600°C without breaking down or deteriorating, making it ideal for use in high-temperature applications such as solar power plants and nuclear reactors. Molten salt is also non-flammable and non-toxic, making it a safe alternative to other heat transfer fluids.

Another advantage of molten salt is its ability to store thermal energy. This makes it an excellent choice for use in thermal energy storage systems, which can be used to store excess energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind power. When energy is needed, the stored thermal energy can be used to generate electricity or heat buildings.

Molten Salt. This article talks about how molten salt can be the Future Of Energy Storage.

What Is Molten Salt

Molten salt is a materials that is in a liquid state at high temperatures. These materials have a wide range of applications, from use in nuclear reactors to energy storage systems. Molten salts are also used in various industrial processes, such as metal refining and heat treatment.


Molten salts are typically composed of cations and anions, which are the positively and negatively charged ions that make up the salt. The specific combination of cations and anions determines the properties of the molten salt.

For example, table salt (sodium chloride) can be melted to form a molten salt that is commonly used as a heat transfer fluid in some industrial processes.

Chemical Properties

Molten salts have unique chemical properties that make them useful for various applications. For instance, fluoride salts and chloride salts are often used in molten salt reactors due to their ability to dissolve actinide elements, which are used as nuclear fuel.

Room-temperature ionic liquids, which are a type of molten salt, are used as solvents in various chemical reactions due to their low vapor pressure and high ionic conductivity.

Molten salt oxidation is another application of molten salts. This process involves using molten salts to oxidize waste materials, such as hazardous organic compounds, into less harmful substances. The thermodynamic properties of molten salts also make them useful for energy storage systems, such as molten salt batteries.

What Is Molten Salt Used For

Molten salt has many practical applications in various industries such as coolant in nuclear reactors, thermal energy storage, and heat transfer fluids.

Below are some of the most common uses of molten salt:

Nuclear Power

Molten salt is used as a coolant and fuel in molten-salt reactors (MSRs). MSRs have several advantages over traditional nuclear reactors, including higher thermal efficiency, lower operating temperatures, and improved safety. Molten salt can also be used to produce tritium, which is used in nuclear weapons and as a fuel in fusion reactors.

Energy Storage

Molten salt is used in thermal energy storage (TES) systems to store energy from concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. TES systems use molten salt as a heat transfer fluid, which is then stored in insulated tanks. The stored energy can be used to generate electricity when the sun is not shining. Molten salt also has a high energy density, which makes it an attractive option for energy storage technologies.

Concentrated Solar Power Plants

Molten salt is used in CSP plants as a heat transfer fluid. CSP plants use mirrors or lenses to focus sunlight onto a small area, which heats up the molten salt. The heated salt is then used to generate steam, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. CSP plants are becoming increasingly popular as a source of renewable energy.

In addition to the above applications, molten salt is also used in the production of lithium, as a component of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate, and in the development of solid-state batteries. Molten salt has a high heat capacity and can be used as a moderator in nuclear energy systems. It is also used in the study of redox potential and fission products.

Research into molten salt is ongoing, with organizations such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory conducting experiments to improve the efficiency and safety of molten salt reactors.

Other salts that are used in non-food related ways are Hydrated Salt, read about those here!

Can You Buy Molten Salt

Molten salt is a specialized product that is not readily available in most stores. However, it is possible to purchase molten salt from a variety of suppliers, mainly in the industrial chemical space.

One of the most common sources of molten salt is industrial chemical suppliers. These companies typically sell a variety of chemicals and materials, including molten salt, to businesses and individuals with specific needs. It is important to note that molten salt may be sold under different names, such as “solar salt” or “thermal storage salt.”

Another option for purchasing molten salt is through online retailers. There are several companies that specialize in selling molten salt and related products online. These companies may offer a wider selection of products and more competitive pricing than traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

It is important to note that molten salt can be dangerous to handle and requires specialized equipment to store and transport.

Therefore, it is recommended that individuals and businesses seeking to purchase molten salt have the necessary knowledge and equipment to handle the product safely.

How Corrosive Is Molten Salt

Molten salt is known for its ability to corrode materials, especially at elevated temperatures. The corrosive nature of molten salt is due to its high reactivity, which can cause it to react with metals and other materials, leading to degradation and failure.

The degree of corrosion depends on several factors, including the type of salt, the temperature, and the material being used. For example, some salts are more corrosive than others, and higher temperatures can increase the rate of corrosion. Additionally, some materials, such as nickel-based alloys, are more resistant to corrosion than others.

One of the most common types of corrosion caused by molten salt is called intergranular corrosion, which occurs along the grain boundaries of a material. This type of corrosion can lead to cracking and other forms of material failure, which can be particularly problematic in high-temperature applications.

To mitigate the effects of corrosion caused by molten salt, it is important to carefully select the materials used in high-temperature applications. Additionally, proper maintenance and monitoring can help detect and prevent corrosion before it becomes a major issue.

In conclusion, molten salt can be highly corrosive, especially at elevated temperatures. However, with careful selection of materials and proper maintenance, the effects of corrosion can be mitigated, allowing for the safe and effective use of molten salt in a variety of applications.

Frequently Asked Questions About Molten Salt

Is Molten Salt Dangerous

Like any other substance, molten salt can be dangerous if not handled properly. It is important to use appropriate safety precautions when working with molten salt, including wearing protective clothing and using proper equipment. Molten salt can also be corrosive to some materials, so it is important to choose materials that are compatible with the specific type of molten salt being used.

What Are the Advantages of Using Molten Salt

Molten salt has a number of advantages over other types of heat transfer fluids. It has a high heat capacity, which means it can absorb and release large amounts of heat without undergoing significant temperature changes.

It is also stable at high temperatures and does not break down or degrade over time. In addition, molten salt is non-toxic and non-flammable, making it a safer option than some other heat transfer fluids.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Molten Salt

One of the main disadvantages of using molten salt is its high cost. It can also be difficult to handle and transport, as it must be kept at high temperatures to remain in a liquid state. In addition, molten salt can be corrosive to some materials, which can limit its use in certain applications.

Final Thoughts

Molten salt has proven to be a promising option for energy storage and nuclear reactors. Its unique properties make it an excellent heat transfer fluid and a safe coolant for high-temperature applications.

While there are still challenges to overcome, such as corrosion and material compatibility, researchers and engineers are working to address these issues and improve the technology.

One of the most significant advantages of molten salt is its ability to store energy for long periods, which is critical for renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. This technology could help make these sources more reliable and accessible, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating climate change.

Overall, molten salt has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry and contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.


Hi, I'm Chris. Who knew there could be so many interesting things about salt?!

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