Emerging Trends in Thermal Energy Storage
Thermal energy storage is a system to store thermal energy for future use. There are three main TES systems: sensible, latent and thermochemical TES.
TES technology is already mature and is regarded as a major energy efficiency and emission reduction technology for buildings. However, adoption or deployment this technology is slow as governments are more focused on energy efficiency in electrical generation. In terms of cost, ultimately, TES system should cost between USD -/kWh.
Technological drivers for TES systems are advancements in material sciences and the emergence of a smart thermal grid; however, the lack of stable materials has hindered TES systems technologically. In terms of market, adoption of TES system is driven by active support from the government and concerns about global warming. Nonetheless, the high cost of new technology, drop in oil prices, and lack of awareness on TES inhibit adoption of TES.
Though some standardization and legislations for TES are already in place, the standardization and legal frameworks are still not constructed well enough to support TES systems fully.
A considerable amount of research and development can be seen in the TES space; however, almost all the initiatives converge into the common theme of proving the feasibility of TES systems either in terms of technology or market.
Application of new TES systems such as Carbonate Thermochemical TES and Nano-based PCM TES is hindered due to high cost. Nonetheless, the cost of a TES system ultimately should lie within USD /kWh‒ /kWh to ensure its competitiveness against other types of energy storage.
The research trends are revolving around ensuring the feasibility of TES technology by improving materials and thermochemical equipment design. The research is also focused on improving compactness of the system by improving efficiency, energy density (at least kWh/ m³), and thermal conductivity of the system. Exploring new materials that are advantageous in terms of storage density and power density is quite necessary for survivability of TES.