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A Quintessential Guide For You on Thermal Energy Storage


Did you know the global thermal energy storage market was estimated at 4.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2022? 

Not just that, it was also forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% until 2030, reaching 8 billion dollars that year. – Statista Research

Isn’t this astonishing? 

It is indeed. 

Thermal energy storage is emerging as a groundbreaking technology that allows you to capture and store excess heat or cold for later use. From reducing energy costs to increasing sustainability, applications are vast and exciting.

That’s where thermal energy storage tanks come in where you can store thermal energy effectively. 

In this comprehensive guide, you learn everything about thermal energy storage from what it is, to how many types and benefits and more. 

So, without further ado, let’s explore what it is here.

  • What is Thermal Energy Storage?
  • 4 Types of Thermal Energy Storage Systems 
  • Benefits of Thermal Energy Storage 
  • Applications of Thermal Energy Storage 
  • How Does Thermal Energy Storage Work?
  • Factors to Consider when Implementing Thermal Energy Storage
  • Limitations of Thermal Energy Storage
  • Future Trends in Thermal Energy Storage Technology
  • Conclusion

What is Thermal Energy Storage?

Thermal energy storage (TES) is a technology that lets you capture and store heat for later use. The primary purpose of this is to balance the supply and demand of energy by storing excess thermal energy when it is available and releasing it when needed. This can help improve the efficiency of energy systems and contribute to the integration of renewable energy sources.

Also, there are several methods of thermal energy storage, and they can be categorized into three main types. 

4 Types of Thermal Energy Storage Systems

Thermal energy storage systems come in various forms, each designed to suit specific needs and applications. The three primary types of thermal energy storage systems are sensible heat storage, latent heat storage, and thermochemical storage.


1. Sensible Heat Storage


Beltecno_Sensible Heat Storag_Blog Image_v1_01-04-2023


Sensible heat storage simply means storing heat by changing the temperature of a material. Common materials like water, rocks, and ceramics are used for this purpose. When these materials get warmer, they absorb heat, and when they cool down, they release it. It's a straightforward way to save and use heat.


2. Latent Heat Storage

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Latent heat storage involves changing a material's phase to store heat—like turning a solid into a liquid. Phase change materials (PCMs), such as paraffin wax and salt hydrates, are used for this. These materials can absorb or release a lot of energy during phase changes, making them useful for storing heat at specific temperatures. 

For instance, Ice Energy's Ice Bear System: Ice Energy's Ice Bear system is a thermal energy storage solution that integrates with existing HVAC systems in commercial buildings. By storing excess energy as ice during off-peak hours, the system reduces cooling costs and shifts energy consumption to low-demand periods.


3. Thermochemical Storage

Beltecno_Thermochemical Storage_Blog Image_v1_01-05-2023


Thermochemical storage stores energy through chemical reactions that absorb or release heat. This method uses reversible chemical reactions, like those with salt hydrates and certain metal oxides. These reactions allow the material to absorb heat in one phase and release it in another, providing a flexible and efficient way to store and retrieve thermal energy as needed.


4. Electrochemical Thermal Energy Storage

Beltecno_Electrochemical Thermal Energy Storage_v1_01-06-2023


Electrochemical thermal energy storage is a way of storing energy that involves using both electricity and heat. In this system, electricity is turned into a kind of stored energy during charging, and then it's turned back into electricity when needed. Lithium-ion batteries are a common example of this technology. They not only store electrical energy but also manage and use the heat produced or absorbed during the process. This combination makes for a more efficient and effective way to store and retrieve energy.

For instance, Tesla's Hornsdale Power Reserve located in South Australia is the world's largest lithium-ion battery energy storage project. It utilizes thermal energy storage to store excess energy generated by wind farms and deliver it to the grid during peak demand periods, enhancing grid stability and reliability.

Now that you know the types of energy storage, have a look at the advantages that it offers.

Benefits of Thermal Energy Storage

The implementation of thermal energy storage systems offers a range of benefits across different sectors and industries. Here are some of the key advantages: 

  • It reduces reliance on fossil fuels and enhances the use of renewable energy sources. It stores excess energy from renewables, balancing supply and demand fluctuations for a more reliable and accessible renewable energy supply.

  • It provides grid operators with increased flexibility by shifting energy consumption to off-peak hours. This helps alleviate stress on the grid during peak periods, reducing the need for additional power plants.

  • It enhances the resilience and reliability of energy systems by providing backup power during outages or emergencies. Critical facilities and infrastructure can continue to operate even when the main power supply is disrupted.

  • It balances energy supply and demand, contributing to grid stability by storing excess energy during low-demand periods and releasing it during high-demand periods.

  • It facilitates the integration of renewable energy sources by storing excess energy during periods of high generation and releasing it during low or intermittent generation.

  • It enhances the efficiency of energy systems by effectively using waste heat and optimizing energy utilization in industrial processes and power generation.

  • Businesses and utilities can take advantage of lower electricity prices during off-peak hours and avoid peak-demand charges, leading to cost savings.

  • It enables load shifting and scheduling energy-intensive processes during periods of lower energy costs, reducing overall energy expenses.

  • It supports the use of renewable energy, contributing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and overall environmental impact.

  • It enhances the reliability of the energy supply, providing backup power during unexpected outages or interruptions in energy production.

  • It offers flexibility in when and how stored energy is used, allowing for better adaptation to fluctuating energy demands and market conditions.

Thus, thermal energy storage plays a crucial role in enhancing energy system performance, reducing costs, and promoting the integration of sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Leverage Thermal Energy Storage Tanks - Share your requirement.

Now let’s understand the applications of thermal energy storage and how it works. 

Applications of Thermal Energy Storage

Thermal energy storage systems have a wide range of applications across various industries and sectors:

1. Buildings and HVAC

Thermal energy storage is widely used in buildings for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. By storing excess heat or cold, buildings can reduce their energy consumption and optimize their HVAC systems' efficiency.

2. Industrial Processes

Many industrial processes require heat or cold for various purposes, such as manufacturing, refrigeration, or chemical reactions. Thermal energy storage allows industries to store excess energy during low-demand periods and utilize it when needed, reducing energy costs and improving process efficiency.

3. Renewable Energy Integration 

Thermal energy storage plays a vital role in integrating renewable energy sources into the grid. By storing excess energy generated from renewable sources, such as solar or wind power, thermal energy storage can help balance supply and demand fluctuations, ensuring a stable and reliable energy supply.

4. Transportation and Electric Vehicles

Thermal energy storage systems can be utilized in transportation sectors, particularly in electric vehicles (EVs). By storing excess heat generated during vehicle operation, thermal energy storage can improve the efficiency and range of EVs, making them more practical and sustainable.

5. Data Centers

Data centers consume a significant amount of energy for cooling purposes. Thermal energy storage can help optimize the cooling process by storing excess cold during low-demand periods and utilizing it when the cooling load is high. This reduces energy costs and improves the overall efficiency of data centers.

Installation time is an important consideration, especially if you have time constraints or project deadlines. Stainless steel panel tanks can be installed three times faster than concrete tanks due to their prefabricated nature. This advantage translates into reduced labor costs and faster project completion.

Concrete tanks, on the other hand, have a longer installation time compared to stainless steel panel tanks, often resulting in delays and increased labor expenses.

Bolted FRP tanks require more time for construction due to the nature of their bolted assembly, making prefabrication impractical.

Use Stainless Steel Panel Tanks for Thermal Water Storage

Stainless steel panel tanks are robust storage solutions for thermal energy. They are constructed with high-quality stainless steel, providing durability and corrosion resistance. These tanks are designed to store hot or cold water, making them versatile for a range of applications.

  • Solar Thermal Systems: Stainless steel tanks are commonly used in solar thermal systems to store heated water generated by solar collectors during sunny periods. This stored thermal energy can then be used when sunlight is not available.

  • Industrial Processes: Industries with fluctuating energy demands can benefit from stainless steel panel tanks to store excess thermal energy during low-demand periods and release it during peak hours.

  • District Heating: In district heating systems, these tanks play a crucial role in storing excess heat produced by centralized heating plants, ensuring a continuous and reliable supply of hot water to buildings.

And here comes a case study of Daikin Air Conditioning Pvt. Ltd leveraging stainless steel panel tanks for thermal storage application.

Case Study: Daikin Air Conditioning Pvt Ltd

Daikin Air Conditioning Brand Logo

We recently completed a project for Daikin Air Conditioning Pvt Ltd, providing a customized insulated panel tank. The tank's specifications include a size of W-4 x L-6 x H-4 meters, providing a capacity of 96 cubic meters. The project was commissioned by Takenaka India Pvt Ltd, with Daikin Air Conditioning Pvt Ltd as the end user.

 

Stainless Steel Water Storage Tank of size of 4x6x4 meters for Thermal Storage Water Storage by Beltecno India.

 

One of the challenges that a huge manufacturing industry faces is to store the cooling water efficiently for various applications and manage its temperature throughout. 

No doubt that the 'Chiller' cools water, but to manage its temperature throughout the process you should consider – thermal water storage tanks. 

These tanks, equipped with thermal insulation with aluminum covers and stainless steel panels, ensure that water remains at the desired temperature i.e., between 7-12 degrees. By incorporating thermal storage tanks, the cooling process becomes more effective, maintaining the water temperature consistently and addressing the pain point of temperature control in the system.

This project underscores Beltecno's expertise in delivering customized solutions for thermal storage needs in collaboration with leading companies in the industry.

Now let’s explore how it functions.

How Does Thermal Energy Storage Work?

Thermal energy storage systems work by collecting and storing extra heat or cold to use later. Here are the crucial steps that this process includes:

Step 1: Collect

The first step is to collect excess heat or cold from various sources, such as industrial processes, renewable energy systems, or waste heat recovery systems, and direct this collected energy to the thermal energy storage system.

Step 2: Store

The second step is to store the collected energy in a suitable medium, depending on the type of thermal energy storage system being used. This medium can be a solid material, a phase change material, or a chemical compound capable of undergoing reversible reactions.

Step 3: Retain

The next step is to retain the stored energy within the medium until it is needed. The properties of the medium allow it to actively hold onto the energy for an extended period without significant losses.

Step 4: Extract

And the last step is to extract the stored energy from the storage medium when needed and actively use it for the intended purpose. This extraction process involves transferring the heat or cold to another medium through heat exchangers or directly using the actively stored energy.

This is how the thermal energy storage system works. But do you know there are certain factors that you should consider while implementing? 

If not, then learn it here. 

Factors to Consider When Implementing Thermal Energy Storage System

When you're setting up a thermal energy storage system, there are some important things to think about to make sure it works well. Let's break it down:

1. System Design and Sizing

When setting up your thermal energy storage system, make sure to customize it for your needs by considering how much energy you want to store, how long you need it, and the temperature range. Also, it was found that the best design improved efficiency significantly, increasing the thermal performance from 45.54% to 72.22% compared to systems without optimization. 

2. Thermal Storage Medium

Choose the right material to store the thermal energy. Think about how much energy it can hold, how stable it is, how much it costs, and if it's good for the environment. It's like picking the best backpack for your journey.

3. Integration with Existing Systems

Your thermal energy storage system should work smoothly with the systems you already have in place. It needs to get along with your heating and cooling systems, any renewable energy sources you use, and the overall power grid.

4. Operation and Maintenance

Just like taking care of your car to keep it running smoothly, your thermal energy storage system needs regular check-ups. Make sure everything is working as it should by monitoring and doing maintenance regularly.

5. Safety and Environmental Considerations

Implement safety measures to mitigate risks and choose environmentally friendly materials. Don’t forget to check for overheating, leaks, or any chemical reactions that could be risky. 

So, when putting in a thermal energy storage system, think about how much energy you need, what material to use, how it fits with your current systems, keep it well-maintained, and make sure it's safe for you and the environment. That way, you'll have a system that flawlessly works.

Now you must be wondering whether thermal energy storage has any limitations or not, right?

Limitations of Thermal Energy Storage

There are some limitations that can’t be ignored:

  • Initial setup costs are high, but improvements in technology are expected to make it more affordable over time.
  • Some energy can be lost during storage and use due to inefficiencies, requiring ongoing research for better systems.
  • These systems can only store a certain amount of energy, so they can be suitable for high-demand situations or long storage periods.
  • Setting up these systems needs special knowledge and expertise, and integrating them with existing infrastructure requires careful planning.
  • Government rules and incentives affect the adoption of these technologies.

That’s all but would you like to know the future trends? 

Future Trends in Thermal Energy Storage Technology

Here are a few of the changes that you can expect:

  • The research for new materials that make thermal energy storage systems work even better is still going on. These materials will make the systems more efficient and cheaper for you.
  • Thermal energy storage systems will team up with smart grids and smart control systems. This partnership will manage energy smarter, making sure stored energy is used wisely and keeping the power grid stable and reliable.
  • With more local energy systems and microgrids, it plays a big role. These smaller-scale solutions help balance energy needs locally, making energy use more efficient and resilient, benefiting your community.
  • As more people switch to electric cars, these vehicles can do more than just drive. They can also share the stored thermal energy in their batteries with the power grid. This helps stabilize the grid and manage energy in buildings better.
  • The future might bring hybrid systems, where different storage technologies like thermal energy storage and batteries work together. This mix can give you better performance and more flexibility in using energy.

And with that, let’s conclude our blog. 

Conclusion

Thermal energy storage emerges as a cornerstone for a sustainable and efficient energy future. From understanding its diverse applications to unraveling the economic and environmental benefits, we've delved into everything you need to know about this transformative technology. 

Now, take the eco-friendly step by embracing innovation and energy efficiency with Beltecno's cutting-edge thermal energy storage tanks. These tanks redefine the way you store and utilize energy, promising not just savings but also a conscientious approach to resource consumption.

Step into Beltecno's World of Thermal Energy Storage Tanks to Make a Lasting Impact - Contact us today!




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