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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N018451/1
Title: Solar Powered Thermochemical Energy Storage
Principal Investigator: Riffat, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Omer, Associate Professor SA Su, Professor Y
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
EPS Geo Green Power
Department: Faculty of Engineering
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 29 February 2016 Ends: 28 February 2019 Value (£): 512,576
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Nov 2015 Thermal Energy Challenge Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
As considerable energy is consumed by UK buildings, not surprisingly, the Government targets for reducing carbon emissions require an 80% energy reduction in this area by 2050. Thermochemical (i.e. water sorption-based) heat storage (THS) can play a pivotal role in synchronizing energy demand and supply in buildings. Transformation of the existing British building stock towards net zero energy buildings requires effective integration and full use of the potential yield of renewable energy. Thermal storage is a key priority to make such a step, particularly for the energy renovation of the existing stock, where compact building level solutions are required. Thermal energy storage can be accomplished using sensible heat storage (SHS), latent heat storage (LHS) or THS. Over these methods THS has approximately 6-10 times higher storage density than SHS, and two times higher than LHS materials when compared on a like for like storage volume basis. In THS, thermochemical energy can be stored independent of the time without any heat loss, permitting solar energy storage during the summer to meet heating demand in winter. Achieving this by other heat storage methods is both complex and expensive. The proposed project will deliver an advanced solar powered THS system, which has stable long term performance in multi-cyclic seasonal use of at least 20 years. The system will contain environmental friendly and safe materials and will be compact, enabling installation in the limited space available in the existing housing stock and as well in the new buildings. Although seasonal storage of solar energy is intended within the proposed project (e.g. V=3-4 m3), it is also possible to design it as short term storage (3-4 days) only with resizing the THS reactor (e.g. V=0.1-0.2 m3). The proposed thermal storage system will lead to significant energy savings (greater than 50%) and CO2 emissions reduction, with a maximum payback of 5 years compared to the current state-of-the-art.

The project integrates multiple units of THS with solar air collectors to optimise the performance of these technologies providing seasonal heat storage in both the new and existing UK buildings that has: (a) low cost; (b) higher performance; (c) higher availability; (d) higher durability; (e) improved on-site health and safety; (f) efficient sorption and desorption processes (g) high solar contribution and (f) implementation of the computer design tools. The target is the development of an innovative, highly efficient thermochemical energy storage system with the following technical advantages:

* The theory and methodology of the THS reactor incorporating multiple sorption beds with hollow fibre membranes in a unique design that increases efficiency and reliability, thereby improving the current technologies and increasing system energy performance. Fundamental heat/mass transfer formulation and model for membrane fibre/reactor system.

* Theory and methodology for the novel evaporative humidifier integrated with heat pipe model for utilizing ground energy to ease evaporation of water and enhancing energy input to the system.

* Theory and methodology for the highly efficient solar air collectors to drive the system and achieve efficient sorption and desorption processes.

* The characterisation and adaptation of new and safety improved nano-composite sorbents, reducing barriers associated with new energy storage concepts.

* The theory and methodology for the advanced ICT optimized control, data/performance monitoring and energy management system

The project provides an opportunity for UK industries to pioneer the development of a new advanced energy storage technology. It will deliver a sustainable, environmental and cost-effective solution to significantly reduce energy consumption and CO2/GHG emissions. The project will contribute to UK excellence in terms of addressing fuel poverty and improving the quality of life for its citizens.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk