Water tank retains > 90% thermal energy
The Dutch startup Ecovat wants to link the heat waste market to the renewable energy market.
A revolution to heating, cooling and thermal energy storage.
A new, underground water tank can save 90 percent of the energy heat. The water tank is very flexible and can save the energy for 6 months and therefore 90% of the energy heat.
The larger the Ecovat the more efficient the energy and ‘exergy’ can be kept. In Ecovat XLL (60.000 m3, the largest), Ecovat expects to be able to retain more than 90% of energy and more than 93% of ‘exergy’ over a period of 6 months.
Thermal waste heat
50% costs, 90% savings
Ecovat may have found the solution for thermal storage heat for long periods in the form of a long-term heat storage system dat costs relatively little to build. With this storage system, construction companies can reduce energy wastage in homes, industries and greenhouses.
The medium in which Ecovat stores the heat (and cold) is groundwater. The innovation is in the fact that you use natural stratification of the water.
Ecovat invented a method to charge and uncharge the system without disturbing the stratification. In this way they establish a sharp thermocline and can keep the energy as well as the ‘exergy’ for very long periods.
Because of the partitions in the concrete cylinder – embedded in the ground – water can be retained at different temperatures. The patented system has a storage capacity of 20,000 to 60,000 cubic meters, each tank.
“Compared to the previous solutions, we can reduce the cost to 50%,” Director Ecovat Aris de Groot says.
A new control technology should allow the market-related use – so the flow can be converted into heat when there is a ‘green’ energy peak. The heat energy is stored in the water tank and can be used when there is a shortage of green energy. Therefore, this form of energy storage is particularly economic.
Power to heat
Of course waste heat can be a source, but also “power to heat”. In that way the system can be used as a net balancing system: Electric energy, that as a result of the increase of sustainable sources (wind and sun) is generated highly volatile, can be switched to heat at moments of overproduction and used for heating purposes at a moment of choice.
Because of the natural stratification, the water will not mix and due to the loading and unloading system (controlled by the Ecovat Control software), the stratification can be kept intact by switching on the different layers in accordance with the temperatures we want to load or unload.
It is also possible to load energy at one layer and at the same moment unload at another layer.
Currently Ecovat has built the first major water storage tank: this prototype will be operational in the summer of 2015. At this moment, the system is tested in several Dutch large smart energy systems.
According to De Groot, the high-tech company has already 4 client who want to conserve heat in the underground water tanks. Ecovat is very interested in the German market because of the fast developments of renewable energy sources.
In June, 2014 Germany reached a milestone: more than 50% of the energy was generated by Solar Panels. A remarkable record, especially when you consider that over 90% of the world population lives in a country with more sunlight.
In the “energy world” the words “storage is the missing link” are often used, Ecovat is creating the solution by developing large energy stores (for 200-400 houses on one Ecovat system).
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