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Efficient energy  storage facilitates the integration of renewable energy sources into energy systems. Because of temporal variability in the availability of solar and  industrial  process  heat, thermal storage systems  are key components for the effective utilisation  of this heat in solar thermal power  stations, heat  recovery  processes, solar local heat  projects, air-conditioning systems in buildings, and  service water systems.

With large seasonal  heat  storage facilities, around half of the total  heat  requirements of large building complexes in Germany can be covered by solar energy.

Research and development requirements

New storage technologies require  a comprehensive research and  development. The development of new storage materials based on phase change and  sorption materials  basically opens up entirely new approaches to heat  storage with little loss, higher energy density, and the use of decentralized heat  supply systems.

Such new approaches are especially promising in modern buildings with lower energy consumption. Furthermore, new storage materials  open up new applications for high- temperature solar thermal stations and  improve the use of industrial process heat.

Storage systems  for small combined systems (power, heat and cooling) are interesting because electricity  generation determines overall output, and  the heat  generated could  be stored  for several days.

The installation of heat  storage units could increase  the capacity  utilize a nation of solar thermal stations as well as lower the cost of electricity generation. Considerable research is still required for the development of such storage systems  so that  the properties of active storage materials  can be optimized, new materials  found, and  costs reduced. In addition, high  performance for the entire  service life and a minimum service level at a desired  temperature  need to be improved.



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