Geo Green Power Research Update – Solar Heat Store Project
GGP are industrial partners in a consortium based research and development project named Solar Heat Store (SHS). The SHS project is a 24 month project funded by InnovateUK and the Newton Fund and aims to bring about collaborative working between UK and Chinese companies and Universities. PCM Products Ltd. (project lead) and The University of Nottingham make up the other UK partners. The Chinese partners are Midea Group and South China University of Technology.
The SHS project aims to develop a novel thermal energy storage battery using a supercooled phase change material (PCM) solution to improve the energy efficiency of domestic hot water systems. PCMs are materials capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy as they transition between phases i.e. solid to liquid. The SHS project will provide the first-of-its kind system, integrating three key components: i) supercooled PCM solution, ii) vacuum solar collector and iii) heat pump.
This business-led innovation will stimulate economic growth in both the UK and China. The SHS thermal battery is designed to be inexpensive and easy to integrate with existing domestic systems. The proposed thermal storage system will employ an innovative supercooled PCM in a tank and using a novel triggering method the rapid release of heat on demand. Thus, unlike conventional sensible heat storage i.e. hot water cylinder, the system will only release heat on activation.
SHS will encourage the use of energy-efficient renewable energy solutions to provide domestic hot water. As a result, SHS will both reduce carbon emissions and user energy costs. The thermal energy will be stored at room temperature, without loss, until required. This makes a key contribution to the efficiency of SHS when compared to conventional (sensible) hot water storage solutions. Furthermore, due to SHS’s high thermal energy density, the technology will be particularly well suited to urban areas where less space is available for building services.
GGP are responsible for the development of the novel PCM triggering method and the system integration of the solar thermal collector, heat pump and PCM tank. The SHS project is currently at the proof-of-concept stage, working on a prototype system. The aim is to take this prototype system and install it in both a UK and Chinese home to conduct long-term real life field trial tests. GGP will continue to provide updates on the SHS project as the project progresses to the field trial stages.