Boosting renewable energy use with phase change thermal energy storage for refrigeration

This project aims to develop a low cost energy storage solution using phase change material (PCM), which is set to benefit the commercial and industrial refrigeration market.  The approach will involve the optimisation of the control strategy for the PCM thermal energy storage system when integrated with a solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy supply.

The project has the potential to significantly increase the uptake of low-cost clean renewable energy in the industrial refrigeration market. As part of the project a pilot-scale demonstration system is to be designed and constructed by Glaciem Cooling Technologies. 

The project aims to develop a new phase change material (PCM) aimed at reducing storage size and cost, and improving methods for charging and discharging, enabling the efficient operation of conventional refrigeration systems.  Optimal control of the storage will also be investigated in order to meet the thermal demand using forecast solar PV output, the price of electricity and the storage system state in order to minimise operation costs and meet contracted peak demand reduction targets.

Optimising the control and operation of a novel PCM thermal storage, combined with solar PV, has the potential to provide reliable and economic storage solutions in the refrigeration sector.

Funding is provided by ARENA, Glaciem Cooling Technologies and The Solar Project Pty. Ltd. in collaboration with the University of Lleida, Spain and Newcastle University International Singapore.

For further information, please contact Dr Martin Belusko.