Looking for Novel Applications of Thermal Storage

Posted by Sarah O'Connell on June 27, 2017

Through its JUMP platform, Oak Ridge National Lab has partnered with Trane to host a technology challenge on thermal storage.  It is crucial that innovative techniques and materials be developed that efficiently condition occupied spaces, contribute to improved occupant comfort, and have low product and installation costs.  Such energy, comfort and cost considerations will best enable contractors and builders to provide customers with high-performing, sustainable buildings.

Thermal storage has multiple benefits which include: 1) 10X lifetime when compared to traditional batteries, 2) Adding a “partial ice” system to a building can be done at a lower installed cost than a traditional air-cooled chiller system, and 3) Many current thermal storage tanks are 99% recyclable and do not involve remediation of hazardous materials at the end of their lifecycle. Even though energy storage costs are trending down and thermal storage systems in general are approximately 1/4 the cost of electric battery systems, thermal storage has not gained global adoption at the scale which would support the greatest benefit to the power grid and cost advantages to consumers. Most current iterations of thermal storage systems involve large modular insulated tanks which connect to the building chiller systems to produce chilled water or ice inside the tanks. 

The challenge is to develop a new way to heat and cool commercial buildings using thermal storage.  Share your ideas! 

The winner would receive $5K in cash sponsored by Trane and up to $20K in-kind support from ORNL technical experts.  Additionally, Successful JUMP participants looking for funding and incubation support may be invited to participate in the Clean Tech Open Accelerator Program based on technical and market merit.  Ideas will be accepted through Sunday, September 10, 2017.

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