Thermal energy storage
Thermal energy storage (TES) is achieved with widely differing technologies. Depending on the specific technology, it allows excess thermal energy to be stored and used hours, days, months later, at scales ranging from the individual process, building, multiuser-building, district, town, or region. Usage examples are the balancing of energy demand between daytime and nighttime, storing summer heat for winter heating, or winter cold for summer air conditioning (Seasonal thermal energy storage). Storage media include water or ice-slush tanks, masses of native earth or bedrock accessed with heat exchangers by means of boreholes, deep aquifers contained between impermeable strata; shallow, lined pits filled with gravel and water and insulated at the top, as well as eutectic solutions and phase-change materials.
Other sources of thermal energy for storage include heat or cold produced with heat pumps from off-peak, lower cost electric power, a practice called peak shaving; heat from combined heat and power (CHP) power plants; heat produced by renewable electrical energy that exceeds grid demand and waste heat from industrial processes. Heat storage, both seasonal and short term, is considered an important means for cheaply balancing high shares of variable renewable electricity production and integration of electricity and heating sectors in energy systems almost or completely fed by renewable energy.
Solar energy storage
Most practical active solar heating systems provide storage from a few hours to a day's worth of energy collected. However, there are a growing number of facilities that use seasonal thermal energy storage (STES), enabling solar energy to be stored in summer for space heating use during winter. The Drake Landing Solar Community in Alberta, Canada, has now achieved a year-round 97% solar heating fraction, a world record made possible only by incorporating STES.
The use of both latent heat and sensible heat are also possible with high temperature solar thermal input. Various eutectic mixtures of metals, such as Aluminium and Silicon (AlSi12) offer a high melting point suited to efficient steam generation, while high alumina cement-based materials offer good thermal storage capabilities.
Sensible heat of molten salt is also used for storing solar energy at a high temperature. It is termed molten-salt technology or molten-salt energy storage (MSES). Molten salts can be employed as a thermal energy storage method to retain thermal energy. Presently, this is a commercially used technology to store the heat collected by concentrated solar power (e.g., from a solar tower or solar trough). The heat can later be converted into superheated steam to power conventional steam turbines and generate electricity in bad weather or at night. It was demonstrated in the Solar Two project from 1995-1999. Estimates in 2006 predicted an annual efficiency of 99%, a reference to the energy retained by storing heat before turning it into electricity, versus converting heat directly into electricity. Various eutectic mixtures of different salts are used (e.g., sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate and calcium nitrate). Experience with such systems exists in non-solar applications in the chemical and metals industries as a heat-transport fluid.
The salt melts at 131 °C (268 °F). It is kept liquid at 288 °C (550 °F) in an insulated "cold" storage tank. The liquid salt is pumped through panels in a solar collector where the focused sun heats it to 566 °C (1,051 °F). It is then sent to a hot storage tank. With proper insulation of the tank the thermal energy can be usefully stored for up to a week. When electricity is needed, the hot molten salt is pumped to a conventional steam-generator to produce superheated steam for driving a conventional turbine/generator set as used in any coal or oil or nuclear power plant. A 100-megawatt turbine would need a tank of about 9.1 metres (30 ft) tall and 24 metres (79 ft) in diameter to drive it for four hours by this design.
Single tank with divider plate to hold both cold and hot molten salt, is under development. It is more economical by achieving 100% more heat storage per unit volume over the dual tanks system as the molten-salt storage tank is costly due to its complicated construction. Phase Change Material (PCMs) are also used in molten-salt energy storage.
Several parabolic trough power plants in Spain and solar power tower developer SolarReserve use this thermal energy storage concept. The Solana Generating Station in the U.S. can store 6 hours worth of generating capacity in molten salt. During the summer of 2013 the Gemasolar Thermosolar solar power-tower/molten-salt plant in Spain achieved a first by continuously producing electricity 24 hours per day for 36 days.
Adsorption (or Sorption) solar heating and storage
The low cost ($200/ton) and high cycle rate (2,000X) of synthetic zeolites such as Linde 13X with water adsorbate has garnered much academic and commercial interest recently for use for thermal energy storage (TES), specifically of low-grade solar and waste heat. Several pilot projects have been funded in the EU from 2000 to the present (2020). The basic concept is to store solar thermal energy as chemical latent energy in the zeolite. Typically, hot dry air from flat plate solar collectors is made to flow through a bed of zeolite such that any water adsorbate present is driven off. Storage can be diurnal, weekly, monthly, or even seasonal depending on the volume of the zeolite and the area of the solar thermal panels. When heat is called for during the night, or sunless hours, or winter, humidified air flows through the zeolite. As the humidity is adsorbed by the zeolite, heat is released to the air and subsequently to the building space. This form of TES, with specific use of zeolites, was first taught by Guerra in 1978. Advantages over molten salts and other high temperature TES include that (1) the temperature required is only the stagnation temperature typical of a solar flat plate thermal collector, and (2) as long as the zeolite is kept dry, the energy is stored indefinitely. Because of the low temperature, and because the energy is stored as latent heat of adsorption, thus eliminating the insulation requirements of a molten salt storage system, costs are significantly lower.
Heat storage in tanks or rock caverns
A steam accumulator consists of an insulated steel pressure tank containing hot water and steam under pressure. As a heat storage device, it is used to mediate heat production by a variable or steady source from a variable demand for heat. Steam accumulators may take on a significance for energy storage in solar thermal energy projects.
Large stores are widely used in Scandinavia to store heat for several days, to decouple heat and power production and to help meet peak demands. Interseasonal storage in caverns has been investigated and appears to be economical and plays a significant role in heating in Finland. Helen Oy estimates an 11.6 GWh capacity and 120 MW thermal output for its 260,000 m³ water cistern under Mustikkamaa (fully charged or discharged in 4 days at capacity), operating from 2021 to offset days of peak production/demand; while the 300,000 m³ rock caverns 50 m under sea level in Kruunuvuorenranta (near Laajasalo) were designated in 2018 to store heat in summer from warm seawater and release it in winter for district heating.
Heat storage in hot rocks, concrete, pebbles etc
This section may be confusing or unclear to readers. (October 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Water has one of the highest thermal capacities Heat capacity - 4.2 J/(cm3·K) whereas concrete has about one third of that. On the other hand, concrete can be heated to much higher temperatures – 1200 °C by e.g. electrical heating and therefore has a much higher overall volumetric capacity. Thus in the example below, an insulated cube of about 2.8 m would appear to provide sufficient storage for a single house to meet 50% of heating demand. This could, in principle, be used to store surplus wind or PV heat due to the ability of electrical heating to reach high temperatures. At the neighborhood level, the Wiggenhausen-Süd solar development at Friedrichshafen has received international attention. This features a 12,000 m3 (420,000 cu ft) reinforced concrete thermal store linked to 4,300 m² (46,000 sq ft) of solar collectors, which will supply the 570 houses with around 50% of their heating and hot water. Siemens-Gamesa built a 130 MWh thermal storage near Hamburg with 750 °C basalt and 1.5 MW electric output. A similar system is scheduled for Sorø, Denmark, with 41-58% of the stored 18 MWh heat returned for the town's district heating, and 30-41% returned as electricity.
Miscibility gap alloy (MGA) technology
Rather than pumping the liquid metal between tanks as in a molten-salt system, the metal is encapsulated in another metallic material that it cannot alloy with (immiscible). Depending on the two materials selected (the phase changing material and the encapsulating material) storage densities can be between 0.2 and 2 MJ/L.
A working fluid, typically water or steam, is used to transfer the heat into and out of the MGA. Thermal conductivity of MGAs is often higher (up to 400 W/m K) than competing technologies which means quicker "charge" and "discharge" of the thermal storage is possible. The technology has not yet been implemented on a large scale.
Electric thermal storage heaters
Storage heaters are commonplace in European homes with time-of-use metering (traditionally using cheaper electricity at night time). They consist of high-density ceramic bricks or feolite blocks heated to a high temperature with electricity, and may or may not have good insulation and controls to release heat over a number of hours.
Several applications are being developed where ice is produced during off-peak periods and used for cooling at a later time. For example, air conditioning can be provided more economically by using low-cost electricity at night to freeze water into ice, then using the cooling capacity of ice in the afternoon to reduce the electricity needed to handle air conditioning demands. Thermal energy storage using ice makes use of the large heat of fusion of water. Historically, ice was transported from mountains to cities for use as a coolant. One metric ton of water (= one cubic meter) can store 334 million joules (MJ) or 317,000 BTUs (93kWh). A relatively small storage facility can hold enough ice to cool a large building for a day or a week.
In addition to using ice in direct cooling applications, it is also being used in heat pump based heating systems. In these applications, the phase change energy provides a very significant layer of thermal capacity that is near the bottom range of temperature that water source heat pumps can operate in. This allows the system to ride out the heaviest heating load conditions and extends the timeframe by which the source energy elements can contribute heat back into the system.
Cryogenic energy storage
This uses liquification of air or nitrogen as an energy store.
A pilot cryogenic energy system that uses liquid air as the energy store, and low-grade waste heat to drive the thermal re-expansion of the air, operated at a power station in Slough, UK in 2010.
Hot silicon technology
Solid or molten silicon offers much higher storage temperatures than salts with consequent greater capacity and efficiency. It is being researched as a possible more energy efficient storage technology. Silicon is able to store more than 1MWh of energy per cubic metre at 1400 °C.
Molten silicon thermal energy storage is being developed by Australian company 1414 Degrees as a more energy efficient storage technology, with a combined heat and power (CHP) output.
Pumped-heat electricity storage
One system which was being developed by the now-bankrupt UK company Isentropic operates as follows. It comprises two insulated containers filled with crushed rock or gravel; a hot vessel storing thermal energy at high temperature and high pressure, and a cold vessel storing thermal energy at low temperature and low pressure. The vessels are connected at top and bottom by pipes and the whole system is filled with the inert gas argon.
During the charging cycle, the system uses off-peak electricity to work as a heat pump. Argon at ambient temperature and pressure from the top of the cold store is compressed adiabatically to a pressure of 12 bar, heating it to around 500 °C (900 °F). The compressed gas is transferred to the top of the hot vessel where it percolates down through the gravel, transferring its heat to the rock and cooling to ambient temperature. The cooled, but still pressurized, gas emerging at the bottom of the vessel is then expanded (again adiabatically) back down to 1 bar, which lowers its temperature to -150 °C. The cold gas is then passed up through the cold vessel where it cools the rock while being warmed back to its initial condition.
The energy is recovered as electricity by reversing the cycle. The hot gas from the hot vessel is expanded to drive a generator and then supplied to the cold store. The cooled gas retrieved from the bottom of the cold store is compressed which heats the gas to ambient temperature. The gas is then transferred to the bottom of the hot vessel to be reheated.
The compression and expansion processes are provided by a specially designed reciprocating machine using sliding valves. Surplus heat generated by inefficiencies in the process is shed to the environment through heat exchangers during the discharging cycle.
Another proposed system uses turbomachinery and is capable of operating at much higher power levels. Use of Phase Change Material (PCMs) as heat storage material would enhance the performance further.
Endothermic/exothermic chemical reactions
Salt hydrate technology
One example of an experimental storage system based on chemical reaction energy is the salt hydrate technology. The system uses the reaction energy created when salts are hydrated or dehydrated. It works by storing heat in a container containing 50% sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution. Heat (e.g. from using a solar collector) is stored by evaporating the water in an endothermic reaction. When water is added again, heat is released in an exothermic reaction at 50 °C (120 °F). Current systems operate at 60% efficiency. The system is especially advantageous for seasonal thermal energy storage, because the dried salt can be stored at room temperature for prolonged times, without energy loss. The containers with the dehydrated salt can even be transported to a different location. The system has a higher energy density than heat stored in water and the capacity of the system can be designed to store energy from a few months to years.
In 2013 the Dutch technology developer TNO presented the results of the MERITS project to store heat in a salt container. The heat, which can be derived from a solar collector on a rooftop, expels the water contained in the salt. When the water is added again, the heat is released, with almost no energy losses. A container with a few cubic meters of salt could store enough of this thermochemical energy to heat a house throughout the winter. In a temperate climate like that of the Netherlands, an average low-energy household requires about 6.7 GJ/winter. To store this energy in water (at a temperature difference of 70 °C), 23 m3 insulated water storage would be needed, exceeding the storage abilities of most households. Using salt hydrate technology with a storage density of about 1 GJ/m3, 4–8 m3 could be sufficient.
As of 2016, researchers in several countries are conducting experiments to determine the best type of salt, or salt mixture. Low pressure within the container seems favourable for the energy transport. Especially promising are organic salts, so called ionic liquids. Compared to lithium halide based sorbents they are less problematic in terms of limited global resources, and compared to most other halides and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) they are less corrosive and not negatively affected by CO2 contaminations.
- District heating
- Thermal battery
- Eutectic system
- Fireless locomotive
- Geothermal energy
- Geothermal power
- Heat capacity
- Ice storage air conditioning
- Liquid nitrogen economy
- List of energy storage projects
- Phase change material
- Pumpable ice technology
- Steam accumulator
- Storage heater
- Uniform Mechanical Code
- Uniform Solar Energy and Hydronics Code
- US DOE International Energy Storage Database
- Saeed, R.M., Schlegel, J.P., Castano, C. and Sawafta, R., 2018. Preparation and enhanced thermal performance of novel (solid to gel) form-stable eutectic PCM modified by nano-graphene platelets. Journal of Energy Storage, 15, pp.91-102.
- Saeed, R.M., Schlegel, J.P., Castano, C., Sawafta, R. and Kuturu, V., 2017. Preparation and thermal performance of methyl palmitate and lauric acid eutectic mixture as phase change material (PCM). Journal of Energy Storage, 13, pp.418-424.
- Jacobson, Mark Z.; Delucchi, Mark A.; Cameron, Mary A.; Frew, Bethany A. (2015). "Low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water, and solar for all purposes". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (49): 15060–5. Bibcode:2015PNAS..11215060J. doi:10.1073/pnas.1510028112. PMC 4679003. PMID 26598655.
- Mathiesen, B.V.; Lund, H.; Connolly, D.; Wenzel, H.; Østergaard, P.A.; Möller, B.; Nielsen, S.; Ridjan, I.; Karnøe, P.; Sperling, K.; Hvelplund, F.K. (2015). "Smart Energy Systems for coherent 100% renewable energy and transport solutions". Applied Energy. 145: 139–54. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.01.075.
- Henning, Hans-Martin; Palzer, Andreas (2014). "A comprehensive model for the German electricity and heat sector in a future energy system with a dominant contribution from renewable energy technologies—Part I: Methodology". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 30: 1003–18. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2013.09.012.
- Wong B. (2011). Drake Landing Solar Community Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Presentation at IDEA/CDEA District Energy/CHP 2011 Conference. Toronto, 26–29 June 2011.
- SunStor-4 Project, Marstal, Denmark. The solar district heating system, which has an interseasonal pit storage, is being expanded.
- "Thermal Energy Storage in ThermalBanks". ICAX Ltd, London. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Canadian Solar Community Sets New World Record for Energy Efficiency and Innovation" (Press release). Natural Resources Canada. 5 October 2012. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- Khare, Sameer; Dell'Amico, Mark; Knight, Chris; McGarry, Scott (2012). "Selection of materials for high temperature latent heat energy storage". Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. 107: 20–7. doi:10.1016/j.solmat.2012.07.020.
- Khare, S.; Dell'Amico, M.; Knight, C.; McGarry, S. (2013). "Selection of materials for high temperature sensible energy storage". Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. 115: 114–22. doi:10.1016/j.solmat.2013.03.009.
- Mancini, Tom (10 January 2006). "Advantages of Using Molten Salt". Sandia National Laboratories. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Jones, B. G.; Roy, R. P.; Bohl, R. W. (1977). "Molten-salt energy-storage system – A feasibility study". Heat Transfer in Energy Conservation; Proceedings of the Winter Annual Meeting: 39–45. Bibcode:1977htec.proc...39J.
- Biello, David (18 February 2009). "How to Use Solar Energy at Night". Scientific American. Archived from the original on 13 January 2017.
- Ehrlich, Robert (2013). "Thermal storage". Renewable Energy: A First Course. CRC Press. p. 375. ISBN 978-1-4398-6115-8.
- "Solar heads for the hills as tower technology turns upside down". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
- "Using encapsulated phase change salts for concentrated solar power plant" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 July 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- Parabolic Trough Thermal Energy Storage Technology Archived 1 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine Parabolic Trough Solar Power Network. 4 April 2007. Accessed December 2007
- "World's Largest Solar Thermal Plant With Storage Comes Online - CleanTechnica". cleantechnica.com. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- U.S. Pat. No. 4,269,170, "Adsorption solar heating and storage"; Inventor: John M. Guerra; Granted May 26, 1981
- Gebremedhin, Alemayehu; Zinko, Heimo. "Seasonal heat storages in district heating systems" (PDF). Linköping, Sweden: Linköping University. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 January 2017.
- "Gigantic cavern heat storage facility to be implemented in Mustikkamaa in Helsinki". 22 March 2018.
- "The world's first seasonal energy storage facility of its kind is planned for the Kruunuvuorenranta rock caverns". 30 January 2018.
- "World first: Siemens Gamesa begins operation of its innovative electrothermal energy storage system". Retrieved 27 July 2019.
- "Siemens project to test heated rocks for large-scale, low-cost thermal energy storage". Utility Dive. 12 October 2016. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- "Nyt energilager skal opsamle grøn energi i varme sten". Ingeniøren. 25 November 2016. Archived from the original on 26 November 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- "Miscibility Gap Alloy Thermal Storage Website". Archived from the original on 12 March 2018.
- Rawson, Anthony; Kisi, Erich; Sugo, Heber; Fiedler, Thomas (1 October 2014). "Effective conductivity of Cu–Fe and Sn–Al miscibility gap alloys". International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer. 77: 395–405. doi:10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2014.05.024.
- Sugo, Heber; Kisi, Erich; Cuskelly, Dylan (1 March 2013). "Miscibility gap alloys with inverse microstructures and high thermal conductivity for high energy density thermal storage applications". Applied Thermal Engineering. 51 (1–2): 1345–1350. doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2012.11.029.
- "Thermal capacitors made from Miscibility Gap Alloys (MGAs) (PDF Download Available)". ResearchGate. Archived from the original on 28 February 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) AN EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF AN ELECTRICAL STORAGE HEATER
- Roger Harrabin, BBC Environment analyst (2 October 2012). "Liquid air 'offers energy storage hope'". BBC News, Science and Environment. BBC. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
- "Molten silicon used for thermal energy storage". The Engineer. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
- "Energy-storage system based on silicon from sand". www.powerengineeringint.com. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
- "Isentropic's Pumped Heat System Stores Energy at Grid Scale". Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
- "ENERGY STORAGE:THE MISSING LINK IN THE UK'S ENERGY COMMITMENTS". IMechE. p. 27. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014.
- "Pumped Heat Energy Storage" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 January 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
- "Isentropic's PHES Technology". 20 October 2014. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
- Rainer, Klose. "Seasonal energy storage: Summer heat for the winter". Zurich, Switzerland: Empa. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017.
- MERITS project Compact Heat Storage. "MERITS". Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
- De Jong, Ard-Jan; Van Vliet, Laurens; Hoegaerts, Christophe; Roelands, Mark; Cuypers, Ruud (2016). "Thermochemical Heat Storage – from Reaction Storage Density to System Storage Density". Energy Procedia. 91: 128–37. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2016.06.187.
- Brünig, Thorge; Krekic, Kristijan; Bruhn, Clemens; Pietschnig, Rudolf (2016). "Calorimetric Studies and Structural Aspects of Ionic Liquids in Designing Sorption Materials for Thermal Energy Storage". Chemistry: A European Journal. 22 (45): 16200–16212. doi:10.1002/chem.201602723. PMC 5396372. PMID 27645474.
- Kolpak, Alexie M.; Grossman, Jeffrey C. (2011). "Azobenzene-Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes As High-Energy Density Solar Thermal Fuels". Nano Letters. 11 (8): 3156–62. Bibcode:2011NanoL..11.3156K. doi:10.1021/nl201357n. PMID 21688811.
- ASHRAE white paper on the economies of load shifting
- MSN article on Ice Storage Air Conditioning at Archive.today (archived 19 January 2013)
- ICE TES Thermal Energy Storage - IDE-Tech
- "Prepared for the Thermal Energy-Storage Systems Collaborative of the California Energy Commission" Report titled "Source Energy and Environmental Impacts of Thermal Energy Storage." Tabors Caramanis & Assoc energy.ca.gov
- Competence Center Thermal Energy Storage at Lucerne School of Engineering and Architecture