Thermal energy storage saves 90% heat
The Dutch startup Ecovat is making the energy supply in the built environment sustainable, by creating a large thermal storage tank that is able to store high temperature heat (to around 90 degrees C) over a longer period (> 6 months) with a loss of energy in this period of less than 10%.
Dr. Ir. J van Berkel (TU/e) has confirmed this in a desk research. (Report “Ecovat Thermodynamics”, March 20th, 2014).
Thermal: a revolution to heating, cooling and energy-storage
The larger the Ecovat the more efficient the energy and ‘exergy’ can be kept. In Ecovat XLL (60.000 m3, the largest), Ecovat expects to be able to retain more than 90% of energy and more than 93% of ‘exergy’ over a period of 6 months.
Ecovat is applicable for district use in urban area (200-400 houses), industries and agricultural greenhouses.
Low costs high performance
Building a Ecovat saves 50% construction-costs. Besides that, this kind of storage is 40% more energy-efficient than existing thermal storage solutions.
Ecovat may have found the solution for energy-storage for long periods in the form of a long-term heat storage systems dat costs relatively little to build. With this storage system, a balance can be achieved in the volatile production of sustainable energy (sun and wind). As a result, in future, fossil energy can be faded out in energy production for the electric network.
This thermal storage innovation is in the fact that it uses natural stratification of the water.
Ecovat invented a (patented) method to charge and discharge the system without disturbing the stratification. In this way they establish a sharp thermocline and can keep the energy as well as the ‘exergy’ for very long periods.
Because of the partitions in the concrete cylinder – embedded in the ground – water can be retained at different temperatures.
A new control technology should allow the market-related use – so the flow can be converted into heat when there is a ‘green’ energy peak. The heat energy is stored in the Ecovat water tank and can be used when there is a shortage of green energy. Therefore, this form of energy storage is particularly economic.
By using the Ecovat solution with “power to heat”, the system can be used as a net balancing system: Electric energy, that as a result of the increase of sustainable sources (wind and sun) is generated highly volatile, can be switched to heat at moments of overproduction and used for heating purposes at a moment of choice.
Because of the natural stratification, hot and cold water will not mix and due to the loading and unloading system (controlled by the Ecovat Control software), the stratification can be kept intact by switching on the different layers in accordance with the temperatures we want to load or unload.
It is also possible to load energy at one layer and at the same moment unload at another layer.
Currently Ecovat is building the first major water storage tank: this prototype will be operational in the summer of 2015. According to De Groot, the high-tech company has already 4 client who want to conserve heat in the underground water tanks.
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