CIC energiGUNE, the Basque research center of reference in battery storage, thermal energy solutions, and hydrogen, and member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance-BRTA, works in the development of materials that will multiply by three the capacity of energy storage of the hot water and/or steam accumulators that are currently used in the industrial processes, with the objective of improving the energetic efficiency and reducing the costs of investment and operation of the facilities. This work is framed within the project sTES, led by Giros-Veolia in collaboration with ARA TT and in which CIC energiGUNE participates as an international reference point.
“We are working in the development and integration of innovative thermal storage systems with high storage capacity, using transition Phase Change materials (PCM) of solid-solid phase for temperature applications between 100°C to 190°C, which will allow us to improve the energetic efficiency of the facilities and to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels”, has assured Gorka Naveran (Coordinator of the R&D department – Giroa-Veolia). “This way, we will substantially increment the capacities of the facilities, being able to triple the thermal storage capacity of the current thermal accumulators without incrementing their volume”.
The project is currently in its final stage, since it has successfully completed the first two annuities of the three that were foreseen. This way, by the end of 2021 it is expected that a satisfactory result will be reached that, by what is established in the constitutions of the sTES project, will be tested in the facilities of Giroa-Veolia, final user of this project.
In this sense, the project sTES has been designed to cover the whole value chain of the process, counting with the participation of distinguished agents of each sector. In the case of Giroa-Veolia, leading company in energetic management services for buildings, and ARA TT, specialized in designing and manufacturing capital equipment for the heat transference and pressure recipients market. In this way, the participants guarantee the integral covering of the project, from the design to the development of the materials until the validation at a pre-industrial scale.
The scientific and technical objectives of the sTES project, apart from the obtaining of solid-solid Phase Change Materials PCM, is the development of a charge and discharge technology that will allow the design of a computational simulation tool of the thermal transference process between the fluid and the storage material. For that end tests will be carried out in laboratories, thanks to the construction of a specific equipment in the facilities of CIC energiGUNE, capable of generating up until 50 kg/h of hot water or steam until 300°C, completely motorized, for components and systems tests.
As a result, the development of these new materials will allow reducing between a 30-40% the costs of the system by kWh stored in front of the existing commercial solutions, with this it is expected that the return of the investment will be reduced by half to 2 years.
Just as the people responsible for the project point out, the combination of innovation and development of new technological solutions, united with the reduction of costs in the systems of cogeneration of energy and with the reduction of the time in the return of the investment are the key points in the sTES system, which aligns with the principles of HAZITEK –program of the Basque Government to promote R&D in the companies-, by combining scientific and technical knowledge with R&D activities, industrial leadership and its tractor effect on the Basque economy, because the developments will be implemented in numerous industrial processes of the food, paper and textile sectors, among others.