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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P003435/1
Title: nano-Structured PCM Composites for Compact Space Heating: n-CoSH
Principal Investigator: Zhu, Professor Y
Other Investigators:
Grant, Professor DM Gillott, Professor M Ding, Professor Y
Sundaram, Dr S Mallick, Professor TK Walker, Professor GS
Power, Professor H Giddings, Dr D Li, Professor Y
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cornwall Council Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) Kensa Group Ltd
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Exeter
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2016 Ends: 31 March 2021 Value (£): 924,591
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Jun 2016 Supergen Energy Storage II Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Energy storage plays a crucial role in building a sustainable energy system. New technology tackling challenges in the area of domestic space heating and water heating will make significant contributions to the energy consumption,CO2 emission, and to improve the quality of life, because among all energy consumed by end users, ~45-47% is for domestic space heating and water heating accounts for another 40%. Among different storage technologies, thermal energy storage provides a unique approach for efficient and effective peak-shaving of both electricity and heat demand, efficient use of renewable energy from wind, tide and sun, and low grade waste heat, as well as distributed energy and backup energy systems. In Europe, it has been estimated that around 1.4 million GWh per year could be saved-and 400 million tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided by thermal energy storage. Despite the importance and huge potential, very limited research has been done in the area.

Phase Change Material (PCM) based technology has a great potential to provide a cost effective solution to the problem, if we can tackle the density and efficiency challenges and overcome the cost barrier. PCMs have an energy density 3-6 times higher than the use of water as a storage medium, and have the potential to compete with sensible heat storage materials such as MgO in terms of cost per unit kWh and is far more compact, and is cheaper than the electrochemical thermal storage. Thus, this bears significant national importance to the UK energy system, peak-shaving and quality of life, but composite PCMs for domestic heating is severely understudied.

This project, building on individual achievements in nanocomposites and in thermal storage research and adopting a multi-institutional and experimental-modelling approach, aims to develop new PCM-based nanomaterials, that are suitable for high energy density (6 times higher than existing technology), affordable and sustainable PCM-based composite thermal storage device applications. It primarily addresses the Materials and Materials Design aspect of this Energy Storage Challenge Call to provide high energy and power density. The project will also develop experimental and modelling Diagnostic Tools, in order to monitor and maximise the efficiency of the PCM composite deveice.

The well-organised investigators from five different research groups of three universities, will first tackle the fundamental PCM composite challenges to solve the low conductivity, thermal expanson and supercooling issues, then move on to investigate at module and system levels to assist validate and optimise the new PCM composites, to achieve optimal device thermal effiency over 92-95%, with >at lease 25% electricity bill saving, 40% weight reduction and 6000 cycle duration. Finally we will construct example domestic space heater to demonstrate the practical improvement of our materials, and we will deliver 10 kW high effiency, compact and low cost device prototypes for demonstration at the Nottingham Creative Homes.
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.ex.ac.uk