Submitted by Dr Rhys Jacob

Research Associate

Traditionally, process heat has been generated using gas, which was once the cheapest form of energy generation. With prices and emissions continuing to rise and renewables now being the cheapest form of generation, companies are looking to renewables to not only reduce energy costs, but lower their carbon footprint. However, the variable nature of wind and solar generation is an issue most commercial and industrial processes are ill-adapted to cope with. Therefore, storage is needed to fill in these gaps to provide flexible, on-demand, process heat deliverance.

This research will pursue the concept of converting low-cost, renewable electricity to heat and storing it thermally. The pursued technology is simple, utilises low-cost storage media, and can deliver process heat as required. This project will work with commercial customers to design, develop, and test a scalable thermal energy storage system to deliver process heat. Research will also be conducted on better characterising the storage material to minimise costs and maximise storage density.

It is expected that a renewably-driven system, capable of delivering process heat at up to 700°C, will be developed, while suitable storage material will also be identified.

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