Thermal energy storage could boost potential long-duration storage, or LDES, capacity globally to between 2 TW and 8 TW, from a range of 1 TW to 3 TW by 2040, according to a recent report
Using thermal energy storage, a material gains energy when increasing its temperature and loses it when the temperature drops. TES includes several technologies, such as medium-pressure steam, that provide storage durations from intraday to seasonal and temperatures as low as subzero to 2,400°C, the report said.
Media include water or ice-slush tanks, earth or bedrock reached by heat exchangers through boreholes, aquifers or pits filled with gravel and water among other elements.
The report focuses on the heat sector, a “pivotal component in achieving global decarbonization and climate targets.” The heat sector is comparable to the electricity sector, though with “clean-heat-specific technologies,” the report said. It includes thermal energy storage, dispatchable capacity such as clean-fuel boilers and robust equipment similar to district heating.