Thermal Energy Storage Technologies

Gabrielle Anderson Release: December 2, 2022 Update: December 8, 2022

A  is a newer technology. High thermal conductivity and rapid heat transfer are two of its advantages. However, the technology has not yet been widely adopted. In this post, we’ll go over the basics of thermal energy storage, talk about how it can be used for Concentrated Solar Power, and look ahead.

How does thermal work?

Thermal Energy Storage system is a load control technology that shifts load from peak to off-peak hours. Although renewable energy sources such as wind and solar electricity represent for a small portion of global power generation portfolios, their use is growing due to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the rising expense of fossil fuels. However, many of these renewable energy sources are intermittent, raising questions about their long-term viability.

Thermal energy storage is a type of energy storage that stores energy in high and low temperatures. This sort of energy storage is frequently employed in industrial settings, commercial buildings, and solar systems. It can also be used to store electricity generated during non-peak hours. Thermal energy storage is an advantageous alternative in these circumstances since it allows you to utilise your energy more efficiently.

Thermal Energy Storage allows for significant operational flexibility by allowing energy-intensive equipment to operate when cooling loads are low and utility prices are low. The stored energy can then be utilised to meet the cooling need for the next day. Thermal energy storage can be used on a full-scale or partial scale, allowing you to run a smaller refrigeration unit during high-cost periods.

Thermal energy storage systems are most commonly used to provide heat for cooling or heating an area. These systems are also commonly used in agricultural applications such as greenhouses and water pumping systems. These methods are also used to store energy in small power plants.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

Thermal energy storage has a variety of applications in concentrated solar power (CSP) systems. Heat-transfer fluid and storage media fluid are the most common fluids used in these systems. The former is used to move thermal energy from solar collectors to pipelines, while the latter is used to store thermal energy.

Concentrated solar power (CSP, also known as concentrating solar power, concentrated solar thermal) systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a receiver. Electricity is generated when the concentrated light is converted to heat (solar thermal energy), which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator or powers a thermochemical reaction.

Typically, the heat transfer fluid is oil. It circulates through the solar field and is heated by concentrated sunlight passing through narrow pipes. After that, the heat is transferred to the power block. The hot HTF can be utilized right away, or it can be stored in a holding tank for later use. Thermal energy storage applications in concentrated solar power systems include the design of thermal energy storage units and the integration of thermoelectric devices in CSP projects.

The cost of a CSP system alone is substantially higher than the cost of a battery-based system, however thermal energy storage in CSP systems is less expensive. This puts CSP systems on par with battery storage while also allowing for a modest reduction in total system costs.

Despite being the most abundant renewable energy source, solar energy is intermittent. A utility must be dispatchable and flexible enough to adapt to variations in demand in order to meet its demands. To do this, energy storage decouples the intermittent solar supply from the load, allowing solar energy to be used around the clock. However, in order to reduce energy losses, the storage must be efficient. The greater the energy loss in the storage unit, the greater the requirement for expensive collection devices.

solar and home

Thermal Energy Storage (TES) System

A thermal energy storage device could be a viable approach for lowering power prices. Its use can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing the use of fossil fuels to generate heat and cold. It can also be used to balance surplus energy generated in a building rather than having to build a new power plant.

Thermal energy storage can help with everything from balancing daily demand and supply to regulating electrical generation in a CHP plant. It may also aid in the expansion of intermittent renewable energy sources. Thermal energy can assist cut expenses and increase energy efficiency by storing energy. Furthermore, it has the potential to lessen the environmental impact of district heating systems.

Cogeneration is a more efficient use of fuel or heat, because otherwise-wasted heat from electricity generation is put to some productive use. Combined heat and power (CHP) plants recover otherwise wasted thermal energy for heating. This is also called combined heat and power district heating.

However, deploying thermal energy storage devices is fraught with difficulties. For one thing, underground networks are expensive to install and maintain. Natural gas consumption also produces additional pollutants, discouraging investment in these systems. Underground thermal storage systems, on the other hand, have a wide range of uses in a variety of industries.

Although thermal energy storage is most typically seen in solar thermal systems, it has a wide range of other applications. , in addition to solar thermal systems, are used to store waste heat and district heat, as well as to couple heat pumps and combined heat and power generators in district heating networks.