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Thermal energy storage: a more sustainable choice to meet net-zero targets

By District Energy posted 05-30-2023 17:00


Power Technology


The BRC’s climate action report shows that gas heating presents a challenge for decarbonisation as retailers are faced with multiple choices for electrifying heating assets. The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) found that 45%-47% of total final energy consumption in the country is used for heating purposes currently, with 80% of it derived from fossil fuels.  

“Of the 18% of heat supplied for industrial processes, 6% is for high-temperature processes, 9% for low-temperature processes and 3% for drying and separation. Due to the large seasonal variation in space heating requirements, the annual heat load profile is far from constant, with the peak winter heat load being several times that of the average heat load,” the UKERC report reads.  

Thermal energy storage (TES) could be the answer to many of these challenges, offering a means to store heat produced by a range of sources, which can later be used to meet the demands of an energy grid. With the UK eager to shift its energy mix, and to make its power infrastructure more efficient, TES may yet emerge as a high-potential process. District heating systems, meanwhile, distribute heat from a central source through a network of insulated pipes to commercial buildings. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), systems that rely on renewable energy sources completely require large storage systems to hold the volumes of renewable and waste heat over its operational lifespan.  

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