An Ultra-High Temperature Thermal Energy Storage (UHTS) has been developed at Edinburgh University to address this need, in the form of the Energy3. Although there are many existing energy storage technologies such as electrochemical (batteries), rotational (flywheel) and gravitational potential (pumped storage), each of these are limited by either lifetime, scalability (and consequently capital cost), energy density or location. When compared with popular electrochemical storage options such as the Tesla Powerwall, UHTS is:
- Not limited to short lifetimes (25-100 years vs 10 years).
- More sustainable and potentially far less expensive to produce, as the raw materials used in UHTS are cheap and abundant (Metal oxides and steel alloys vs Lithium, cobalt, copper and nickel).
- Able to provide space heating and hot water in addition to electricity.
Another exciting advantage of the Energy3 UHTS technology is that it is highly scalable. An Energy3 UHTS storage system can be built to supply the energy for a single house all the way to plants with the capacity of the largest pumped hydro schemes that currently store enough energy to supply whole cities.
Two exciting early embodiments of the Energy3 UHTS technology are:
- Product 1: “Energy3 mUHTS”, a pallet-sized storage system capable of providing all of a houshold's heating, hot water and electricity needs from clean renewable sources.
- Product 2: “Energy3 megaUHTS”, a modular shipping container-based system, which provides energy storage in the megawatt scale for commercial enterprises.
Much of our existing national energy system is based on thermal generation, in the form of gas and steam turbine (in single and combined forms). Therefore, UHTS offers a low-cost route to mass energy storage and Co2 reduction through conversion of existing thermal power plants.
The creation of the Energy3 UHTS is the fruit of many years of research to overcome significant technical challenges. Our commercial offerings represent the cutting edge of current technology, however this is just the beginning of the story. As we push our operating temperatures higher, we enable the creation of energy storage systems with ever higher efficiencies and energy density. Read about the research and people enabling this.
The Energy3 UHTS intellectual property is owned by The University of Edinburgh and is protected by patent filing in the United Kingdom (application number 1808478.0, filing date 23 May 2018)