Thermal Energy Storage is a key element in various areas of energy conversion, supply, and end use. It is essential as a cross-sectional technology and helps transform our energy infrastructure in the following areas: enabling energy-intensive industries to utilise waste heat and manage thermal processes in a more flexible way; integrating renewable power via more flexible and efficient fossil power plants, and providing dispatchability and load-following capability for concentrated solar-thermal power plants, thus advancing this technology towards base-load and grid support.
High-temperature thermal energy storage in the 100 to 1,000 °C range is a unique strength of the Helmholtz centres, nationally as well as in the international context. The objective is to achieve break-through innovations and economic viability in the sensible, latent heat and thermochemical areas of thermal energy storage technology. This requires interdisciplinary efforts on storage media, design concepts and heat transfer aspects, as well as thermal process engineering, system integration and operation of pilot installations: a high risk and long-term research activity typical of the Helmholtz centres. Technologies under consideration include phase change materials, liquid salts, and reversible chemical reactions.
As thermal energy storage is a key component in making concentrated solar power technologies controllable, dispatchable and more cost-effective, these activities are closely linked to Topic 2, "Concentrating Solar Thermal Technology" of the "Renewable Energies" programme.
Participating Helmholtz Centers: DLR