We have come to rely completely on energy. We use it in almost everything we do; we live in it, use it for all our modern conveniences and more. Without energy we wouldn't know what to do. In the past, before energy, there were lanterns for light and matches and wood for heat. That was the only options people had. When power was accessible to everyone by running power lines through cities, towns, residential areas to allow everyone to tap into the new generation, people were skeptical as to how this would affect everyone in the future.
Over the years, appliances became energy friendly, which made for less manual labor and more free time. Wash machines, dryers, dishwashers and the latest in cooking stoves that no longer needed wood. These were all great inventions and although people were skeptical they still took advantage of these appliances. Today we have the worry of saving the energy that we know and love so well. Our energy is fueled by non-renewable resources which will allow the depletion of these resources slowly and over time where we won't realize it until it is gone. We need to find an alternative to the way we power our energy but we also need to store the energy that we already have.
Solar energy has been tested and experimented with as we learn more and more about how to conserve and store the natural heat from the sunlight. We all know how effective it is and why it is something that we should work very hard at conserving. Storing the solar energy can mean endless usage of water and other necessities by using conservative methods of saving energy.
Thermal mass systems are the process of using natural resources to make material that will store solar energy. This type of storage uses renewable resources from the earth, such as dirt, water and man made resources such as concrete to help store energy if only for a short period of time. Thermal mass can help heat water at night or heat your home long after the sun goes down or on cloudy days when the sun doesn't peak through the clouds at all. These need to be worked on because there is no extensive long storage capability using solar power just yet.
Then you have the thermo-chemically phase which uses types of devices to store heat. Some examples of this type of storage includes
Paraffin wax inside of a storage tank. When the paraffin wax is cold it is solid but when it is heated it is a liquid that can help hold heat for a very long time without cooling it down. As the paraffin wax cools it becomes hard which can hold the heat in longer.
Eutectic Salts are inexpensive and can store heat in a heating system which will distribute the heat evenly and lasting hotter longer.
Molten Salts are an effective way to store solar energy because it allows the heat to remain hot without being non-flammable and cost effective. During the time that the storage tank is heating up, the salt mixture is heated and then used to make steam.
Rechargeable batteries can be a great way to store energy. This type of storage allows the power source connected to the battery maintain its power. Lead acid batteries are the more common battery used for this type of storage.
As you see there are several ways that we can store natural energy we just need to learn how to make these methods more practical and efficient. When we figure it out we will have an unlimited supply of natural heat.