How Does Thermal Energy Storage Reach Scale?

By District Energy posted 09-06-2017 00:00


Greentech Media, Julian Spector


A vital technology for securing deep greenhouse gas reductions exists and works well, but still hasn't achieved widespread deployment.

Thermal energy storage has succeeded in the field for decades. Precooling an insulated vat of liquid can chop an electricity bill and reduce peak load, as companies like Calmac and Ice Energy have shown. An experimental housing development in Canada uses underground thermal energy storage, powered by solar energy in the summer, to cover its heating needs through the frigid Alberta winters.

Such products address a decarbonization challenge that cleaner grid power alone cannot touch. Buildings consume 70 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S., and emit 40 percent of the nation's carbon emissions. Any holistic attempt to tackle climate change must confront building-sector energy use.

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