Thermal energy storage allows excess thermal energy to be collected and then used again many hours, days or even months later. This is similar to how evacuated tube solar hot water work, as they make the most from absorbing solar power to convert into thermal energy. Depending on the technology this thermal energy can be used at an individual building, group of buildings, or even for an entire district or town. You could even use this technology if you rent to own storage buildings thanks to the installation process. Thermal energy storage can be achieved using several different technologies, depending on the climate and the specific needs of each situation. Whatever you’re storing, you need to be sure that it is safe and protected. If you are using metal storage sheds, you may want to look at this thermal energy storage to keep your contents the way you need them to be.
Electric Light & Power ran a case study that reviewed the use of thermal energy storage by Wilson Creek Winery in California. Temperature control is extremely important to the aging process of wines and Wilson Creek’s facilities include a 40,000 square foot building that requires cooling eight months of the year. Controlling energy costs became a top priority.
In order to reduce the cost of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) they initiated a thermal energy storage strategy. HVACs that do not function as they should tend to hemorrhage money and repair professionals will be required to return them to optimal performance, making them economical for use once more; such a service can be found here – https://www.airnowhvac.com/repair-and-maintenance/. First they replaced their lower efficiency air conditioning units with more efficient models and then by installed a system of Ice Bear energy storage units. These units have the ability to store more than 15 million hours of energy and as a result of their installation have saved Wilson Creek an average of $27,000 annually in electricity costs.
How do they work?
The thermal energy storage units were installed with the air conditioning units throughout the facility and grounds. At night, when the temperature and electric rates are the lowest, the units start to freeze a 5 tonne water supply into a solid block of ice. During the day, the controller on the energy storage unit signals the AC unit’s compressor to switch off. As the block of ice begins to thaw the AC unit circulates cooled air from the ice throughout the facility using only a small 300-watt motor during the hottest hours of the day, and when power demand and electricity rates are highest. When the temperature goes back down, the Ice Bear controller turns the AC unit back on before resuming its ice-making cycle.
Read the full article “Thermal Energy Storage Saves California Winery Nearly $30K a Year”
Thoughts from Solution 105
Thermal energy storage works very well in specific situations, especially applied in an ideal climate for that situation.
Another example where thermal energy storage would be advantageous would be for a large church. On hot summer days a building full of people requires a lot of energy to keep cool, but in most cases this high cooling load occurs for short periods of time, often just once or twice a week. A church could use thermal energy storage to reduce their energy delivery costs by purchasing and storing energy during low-rate periods and then using it during high demand times.
“Proper modeling of the climate and situation is the key to really utilizing thermal energy storage,” commented Chris Vilcsak, President and CEO of Solution 105.