Compact Thermal Energy Storage:
Material Development and System Integration
Why thermal energy storage?
Thermal energy storage is an important technology for renewable energy systems. By improving the effectiveness of thermal storage, the effectiveness of all renewable energy technologies that supply heat can be improved.
Particularly for solar thermal systems, thermal energy storage is essential. To reach high solar fractions, it is necessary to store heat (or cold) efficiently for longer periods of time. Until now, no cost-effective compact storage technologies are available to do this.
Why new materials?
In several IEA annexes, both ongoing and completed, it was concluded that materials are the main bottleneck for finding effective solutions for compact thermal energy storage, and that there is a need for new storage materials with a higher specific energy storage density and lower material cost.
Around the world, several groups are working on either thermal energy storage materials or applications. However, these activities are not sufficiently linked: they are either limited to specific applications or to specific materials. What is needed is a way to bring the ongoing work on materials and applications together.
New IEA task
A new IEA task has been initiated by ECN to do just this. This task will be implemented as a Joint Task between the Solar Heating and Cooling (SHC) and Energy Conservation through Energy Storage (ECES) implementing agreements.
Currently, this task is still in the definition phase, and has the working title Compact Thermal Energy Storage: Material Development and System Integration.
The latest version of the task definition document can be downloaded here.
dr.ir. Wim van Helden
dr. Andreas Hauer