In 1999, the research group GREA at the University of Lleida already saw the importance of thermal energy storage (known as TES) in today’s energy systems. The main advantages of TES are a reduction of energy costs, a reduction of energy consumption, increased flexibility of operation, a reduction of initial and maintenance costs, and improvement of indoor air quality in buildings. Although energy storage is already acknowledged for its potential by policymakers, TES is still disregarded. Thermal storage may be stored by elevating the temperature of a substance, by changing the phase of a substance (such as melting ice at 0ºC), or with the use of the energy involved in chemical reactions.
TES, therefore can be applied in the grid, in the industry, in buildings, and in our cities. At the University of Lleida, several applications have been demonstrated, and are shown here. One of them is the use in buildings to reduce their energy demand, demonstrating that TES is one of the tools to be used, together with the use of renewable energies and consumer behaviour. GREA has a unique demonstration pilot plant, where cubicles of adequate size have been monitored over 10 years. Another key installation is the one where industry applications are developed, such as the use of TES in solar power plants, recovery of waste heat from the industry by implementing TES, or the use of industrial by-products as storage materials.
Professor Dr Luisa F Cabeza
Director – INSPIRES Research Institute
Director – GREA Research Group
University of Lleida
Tel: +34 973 003576