PyroPhase has secured the Canadian patent 2,643,380 for a method to store variable wind and solar power as heat in heavy oil formations, including oil sands and oil shale.

Currently, wind and solar power amount to less than 2% of US total electric generation as they require costly backup plants to supply power when wind and solar are not available.

PyroPhase said that this method can use variable and off-peak power as it stores radio-frequency energy as heat in North America’s multi-trillion barrel heavy oil formations.

It converts this resource to fuel for refineries in amounts five times the electric energy input.

The method provides a market for wind and solar power to meet a proposed goal of 20% of electric generation, while eliminating a source of CO2 emissions from fuels production.

As this method uses power whenever it is available, and is instantly interruptible, it stabilizes the electric grid.

According to the company, it compensates for fluctuations in wind and solar power input and also in users demand.

This reduces the need for power plants that run all the time to meet sudden load changes, and thus waste fuel.

The work was funded by petroleum companies and the US Department of Energy.