Cheap, effective, safe

We go the extra mile to power a green future

Over the last few years, fossil fuel prices have soared while renewable energy sources have faced a drastic drop in prices. These changes have created a new paradigm in the energy sector: periods during which more electricity is produced than demanded are increasing, and vast amounts of cheap electricity are being wasted.

To achieve a clean energy transition, we need affordable solutions for long-duration storage. However, existing technologies are expensive and can only store energy for short periods. Our solution stores energy as heat, with the potential of reaching a very low cost per energy capacity, at scales of just a few MWh.

The five goals of Thermobat

Moving from proof of concept to real-life applications

To store energy as heat we use ferrosilicon alloys as phase change materials (PCM). These substances absorb or release heat when they go through a change in their physical state, i.e., from solid to liquid and vice-versa. However, producing these PCMs by mixing pure elements is very expensive and energy consuming. We will develop a new low-cost and environmentally friendly process, relying on an exothermic reaction for the manufacturing of these alloys from raw and waste materials.

We will build a new 100 kWh heat storage box, capable of withstanding multiple thermal cycles. This new crucible will be sealed to avoid condensation that darkens and lowers the performance of thermophotovoltaic cells. Its structure will be based on bulk, cheaper silicon carbide with a thin boron nitride coating, to prevent chemical interaction with the phase change materials.

We will experimentally validate a new thermophotovoltaic cell concept, demonstrating its high efficiency, high power density, and the scalability and affordable cost of the manufacturing process. Using these cells, a large-scale thermophotovoltaic generator (1kW) will be manufactured to operate at temperatures over 1000ºC.

We will scale up our technology, developing a 100 kWh/1 kW prototype, enabling output power regulation with retractable TPV generators, and incorporating an improved thermal insulation system. A multitude of sensors will ensure exhaustive monitoring of temperature and heat flows, generating large amounts of data that will enable a precise control of the system and its adaptation to environmental conditions.

We will test a scaled (100 kWh) latent heat thermophotovoltaic battery system in a case study. Aside from validating the technology and its design, experiments conducted at a big sports centre will provide real-life data to inform potential first customers and commercialisation strategies. Finally, a business model will be developed for the commercialisation of Thermobat’s technology, offering customised solutions for each consumption profile, from big industrial customers to residential settings.

A joint effort to stop wasting energy

Thermobat is divided into five work packages (WPs) which deal with three topics

Product development

We will develop a new process for manufacturing the heat storage block, the energy conversion block, and the battery prototype. All these results will be integrated and fed into the following WPs, the main goal of which is to confirm operational results and develop a viable commercial plan for this technology.

Involved partners: NTNU (lead), UPM, Foseco, Ferroglobe.
Involved partners: UPM (lead).

Involved partners: UPM (lead), Thermophoton, Entech, NTNU, Foseco, Ferroglobe.

Validation, scale-up, and tech-to-market transition

We will perform a case study, acquiring data on the installation, maintenance and deinstallation of our technology at a sports centre in Madrid in Spain, and monitoring its results to detect potential applications. In addition, we will evaluate the environmental life cycle of the technology and develop a business model for its future commercial exploitation.

Involved partners: Thermophoton (lead), UPM, NTNU, Foseco, Entech, Serveo.

Management and communication

We will ensure an effective realisation and management of Thermobat’s activities whilst guaranteeing the smooth development of all aspects of the project.

We will maximise the impact of Thermobat by raising awareness through communication and dissemination.

Involved partners: UPM (lead), all partners.