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Hi-ThermCap Report Summary

Project ID: 717376

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Hi-ThermCap (High-capacity and high-performance Thermal energy storage Capsule for low-carbon andenergy efficient heating and cooling systems)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

According to the European Commission , heating and cooling in Europe’s buildings and industries accounts for nearly half of the EU’s energy consumption, even ahead of transport (32%) and electricity (22%). And what is even more dramatic in this context is the fact that only 15% of heating and cooling energy is generated from renewable energy – 85% is produced from natural gas, coal and oil products. The European Union concluded that “In order to fulfil the EU's climate and energy goals for 2020, 2030 and 2050, the heating and cooling sector must become highly energy efficient and largely based on local, sustainable energy sources.”
By this, it becomes clear that the heating and cooling industry is the sector with the biggest energy-saving potential in Europe. Most of the thermal energy amounts are required in the low temperature range between -20 to +100°C. And due to the current efficiency levels most of the thermal energy amounts in this temperature range in heating and cooling industry are wasted.
Phase-change materials (PCM) are among the key materials of thermal optimisation of technical processes as they are one of the most suitable materials for energy transition. PCM have the property to run through a reproducible phase-change at a substance-specific temperature, during which the thermal energy is either stored in very large amounts or returned at a constant temperature. Since decades, an adequate method is being sought to transfer PCM (e.g. paraffin wax, their derivatives, salt hydrates, etc.) into a user-friendly form. Filling PCM in static heat exchanger systems of metal has revealed inappropriate – both technically and economically. Micro-encapsulation show even greater economical disadvantages and are especially unsuitable for salt hydrates. Macro-encapsulation solutions have until now implied the use of totally unsuitable plastic containers with extremely too large walls and too thick layers; while metal macro-encapsulations caused technical and economic problems (e.g. corrosion, lid leakages, too sophisticated manufacturing processes).
For these reasons, the existing PCM storage modules are, despite their high potential for thermal energy and CO2 savings, currently not industrially and economically viable enough for a broad application in our heating and cooling systems. The main solution in use in Europe for thermal energy storage is sensible heat storage, with water storage tanks being the cheapest solution. Nevertheless, sensible heat storage displays the disadvantages of requiring large volumes because of its low energy density (three times lower than that of PCM systems) as well as a proper design to discharge thermal energy at constant temperatures.
The problem being addressed is that the most energy consuming sector of Europe –heating and cooling- is also one of the most inefficient ones, lacking efficient solutions which would help to achieve the EU’s climate and energy goals for 2020, 2030 and 2050.

Solving the problem has tremendous impact on Europe’s society both from the perspective of living quality and from an economic point of view.
Improved living quality and environmental benefits
Efficient solutions in heating and cooling industry would help to reduce energy consumption drastically. Reducing energy consumption - especially produced by finite resources like natural gas, oil and coal – helps
• to reduce CO2 emissions,
• to stop climate change,
• to halt degradation of natural resources, and
• to decrease air pollution by extraction and refining of natural resources.
Economic benefits
Moreover, an energy efficient and sustainable heating and cooling sector will
• boost security of energy supply,
• reduce energy bills,
• save climate protection costs and
• free up money spent on fuel imports for local economies.
It will also help in reducing the staggering €1 billion per day – or around €400 billion per year – that the EU paid for its energy imports in 2014.

The objective of the Hi-ThermCap innovation project is to develop for market-readiness and to put its worldwide unique product onto the thermal energy storage market in Europe. To reach this objective, ESDA plans to build up a new business area based on this novel PCM storage solution. The network of key partners, suppliers, producers and distributors will be extended in order to guarantee this successful business extension. Marketing and distribution measures will prepare the market entry and the product launch from the beginning of the development. This new business area is expected to significantly strengthen the company’s competitiveness and sales potential at the national and international levels. Under Phase 1 of Hi-ThermCap, a feasiblity study has been conducted for the application of the ESDA solution on several markets and to elaborate a business plan for the ESDA's successful business extension.

The feasibility study has substantiated and confirmed the technological and commercial viability of the business innovation project. Therefore, the business innovation project shall continue. On basis of the feasibility study, needs to adapt the product were identified. This refers to the optimisation of temperature range, the optimisation of head conductivity and the optimisation of diffusion resistance and materials compatibility.
Based on the results of ESDA’s company growth plan, we can conlude that to further develop this business plan, access to funding under Phase 2 of the SME Instrument would be particularly useful for ESDA. Indeed, the ideal product introduction being in 2020 and in order to guarantee reaching commercialisation stage on time, the ESDA product needs further financial boost for technical optimization, product certification and final validation and commercialisation. After the 2 years of the Phase 2 project and successful market introduction, ESDA will be able to acquire more visibility thanks to sufficient customer references and marketing activities, and thereby to attract investments from different sources, e.g. banks, business angels, venture capitalists or individual investors. Moreover, since ESDA is a highly innovative company with numerous product ideas and applications in PCM-thermal storage, the expertise of a coach under the Phase 2 of the SME-Instrument is indispensable in order to help ESDA keeping its business plan’s priorities and tasks on the right track.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

A detailed feasibility study with the following contents has been conducted:

- Analysis of the application market heating and cooling in housing technology
- Potential analysis of new business area Engineering and services for the new technology
- Potential analysis of new business area Licensing and contracting
- Analysis of application potential of the new technology
- Business analysis (ESDA)
- Business plan

At the end of the project, ESDA had developed a clear, measurable, realistic and achievable business plan that points out the company's business potential in relation to future business areas. Most relevant market segments for the ESDA product are solar thermal and heat pump installations. Highest total potential with 2.888mn solar thermal energy and heat pump users is Germany, followed by France (2.446mn), Italy (1.297mn) and Sweden (1.227mn). The business plan delineated in the phase 1 proposal has resulted in a more realistic turnover for ESDA of EUR 44mn by 2022. Additionally, the feasibility study has shown that there are several new potential opportunities for the business innovation project where most promising one is the botanic application.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The ESDA technology has revealed to be far beyond the current state-of-the art.
The heating and cooling sector needs urgently a solution on the market to reduce thermal energy waste and CO2 emissions. The highly innovative product created by ESDA Technologie GmbH is the first functioning technology working with Phase-Change-Materials for thermal energy storage that will truly boost the energy efficiency of our heating and cooling systems. As it is simple and affordable, it has a massive worldwide growth potential, international scale-up possibilities and high economic and social impact.

Related information

Record Number: 195032 / Last updated on: 2017-02-20
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