Thermal energy storage is one of the greatest inventions that engineers have invented. Thermal energy storage systems are widely used in various applications whether for industrial purposes or for such simple applications as heating up a house or building during winter times. Thermal energy storage is simply the storing of thermal energy or “heat” in various items, objects and containers and having the ability to access the stored thermal energy for hours, days, or even months depending on the technology. Below describes some of the various types of thermal energy storage systems.
There different ways of storing heat and here are the main technologies for storing thermal energy:
solar energy storage is the technique of storing sun’s thermal energy or heat in batteries using solar panels and some other components. The way solar energy storing systems works is as follows:
Molten salt energy storage is considered to be an innovative way of storing more energy than regular thermal energy storage systems.
The energy produced by steam turbine plants is almost 80 percent of the entire system. The Molten salt is put in a tank and then pumped up into a tower. The tower is surrounded by huge fields of specially arranged mirrors which are called heliostats. The heliostats mirrors focus up the heat energy on a heat exchanger that sits on top of the high tower which will cause the heating of the molten salt to such temperature as 500 degrees Fahrenheit up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. The molten salt is then stored in a large tank which can be utilized later for energy generation. The Heliostat mirrors are automatically controlled by computers in order to follow the sun’s direction and focus the reflected sunbeam on the top of the tower.
A thermo-chemical energy storage system can be a solution for making heat and thermal energy available when needed. It is a system composed of water and zeolite. Zeolite is a mineral sponge and is capable of storing up to four times more heat than water. It is extremely porous and every gram of it has a surface area of over 10,000 ft2. To charge a Zeolite “battery”, all needed is to add heat. This allows the mineral to absorb large amounts of water through molecular binding, which releases heat energy. This relatively new heat storage system can be used for three main purposes: heating, cooling and even drying.
There are many advantages and benefits for using thermal energy storage technology such as:
Even though thermal energy storage systems can be extremely beneficial, it does not make them immune to having their own share of drawbacks and challenges. Some of these challenges include the following.
In conclusion, thermal energy storage systems are extremely beneficial and can be implemented in almost every single building to save money, lower the cost of electricity consumption, store energy for emergency situations, and even make money if you look at it from a business perspective.