CORDIS - EU research results

A new generation high temperature phase change microemulsion for latent thermal energy storage in dual loop solar field

Project description

One novel material stores and transfers the Sun’s heat

Our star will be shining bright for millions of years, sending us heat and light. A highly efficient way to harness this renewable energy is concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. CSP plants concentrate the Sun's light using mirrors and use the heat to create steam to drive a turbine. Excess heat can be stored to create electricity when the Sun is not shining. Phase change materials that store and release heat via changes in phase – like ice to water – are a great way to stabilise supply. The EU-funded THERMES project will make it even better with a novel microemulsion that can act as both heat storage material and heat transfer fluid.


New energy storage solutions and innovations play a vital role in fully realising solar energy potentials particularly in large-scale integration into future low-carbon energy systems. For concentrated solar power, one of key challenges lies in low-cost high-performance thermal energy storage. Latent thermal energy storage holds the key to resolving such a challenge and keeping energy supply over periods of inadequate irradiation. THERMES will develop a new generation high-temperature phase change microemulsion both as the latent heat storage material and heat transfer fluid for low temperature solar field of a dual-loop solar field system. The high-temperature phase change microemulsion is characterized by high energy density, enhanced heat transfer performance through the addition of nanoparticles, and cost-effectiveness due to the use of commercial grade paraffin as the latent heat storage medium. By integrating the expertise of the host and Dr. Wenzheng Cui, THERMES will combine cutting-edge experimental, computational and theoretical analysis methods to develop the next generation working medium for latent thermal energy storage in order to meet the key challenge faced by concentrated solar power and fill the research gap of lacking of knowledge on high-temperature properties of phase change microemulsion. This Fellowship will offer Dr. Cui an opportunity through mobility, diverse trainings for acquiring interdisciplinary expertise and transferable skills, and to two-way transfer of knowledge between him and the host. It will position him as an internationally-leading interdisciplinary academic in the research area of latent thermal energy storage for concentrated solar power. THERMES will aggrandize commercialisation of utility-scale concentrated solar power, provide adaptability and support solar energy integration in the energy system. Therefore it is in line with EU’s Energy Strategy and Energy Union for secure, competitive, and sustainable energy.


Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
B15 2TT Birmingham
United Kingdom

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West Midlands (England) West Midlands Birmingham
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 224 933,76