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New markets technological positioning for ultra-high temperature latent heat energy storage

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NATHALIE (New markets technological positioning for ultra-high temperature latent heat energy storage)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2022-02-28

The availability of cost-effective energy storage technologies with durations from 10 h to several days is key for variable renewable energy sources to become major contributors to electricity generation. In upcoming years, battery prices are expected to remain too high, with energy storage as heat emerging as a cheaper and more promising solution. Even if there is an efficiency penalty in converting heat back to electricity, the low cost of heat storage is a big advantage, especially because this conversion is not always necessary, since heat accounts for about 50% of global energy demand.

Latent heat thermophotovoltaic (LHTPV) batteries are a kind of Ultra-High Temperature Energy Storage (UTES) or Power-To-Heat-to-Power storage (PHPS) technology that stores electricity as latent heat at very high temperatures (>1,000°C) and convert this heat back to electricity on demand using thermophotovoltaics (TPVs). LHTPV / UTES technology allow for much lower cost than state-of-the-art electrochemical batteries and can provide both heat and electricity on demand, which make them attractive for grid-scale, long-duration energy storage, and distributed dispatchable cogeneration.

The objective of the project is to analyse the potential of this technology to produice heat and electricity on demand in two market applications: Commercial and institutional buildings and Industrial process heat and power. The project has analysed the new strategic markets, assesing the strengths and weaknesses to finally position the technology into the existing future energy value chains.
The project first gathered input information from several sources, including an online questionnaire (46 inputs from 600 invited), the opinion of 15 key opinion leaders, and intelligent scouting (patents, articles, market trends, etc.). Then, this information was used to analyse the market through competitive analysis (PORTER) and macroenvironmental factors (PESTEL). The positioning of the technology on the two identified markets was also made with SWOT and TOWS methodologies. Finally, a techno-economic model was developed to define the technical specification of the technology based on the previous market analyses. The outcome is the range of values for some key techno-economic parameters which should be attained by the future products to reach the market.
Nathalie project helped LHTPV / UTES technology to reach the market’s needs. It’s impact in terms of economic benefits validated its interest and potential for further technology developments. Also, potential customers had the chance to learn about the technology, its potential and possible applications and we validated the interest for further collaborations and implementation for higher TRL. Nathalie could also validate the interest in LHTPV / UTES technology, promoting the interest of the clean energy technologies, reduce carbon footprint and produce and store locally.

Natural gas prices are skyrocketing around the world and have led to record electricity and heating prices. In 2022, the EU energy dependence is a very hot subject, especially related to the need to rapidly reduce the use of fossil fueld for energy production. On the other hand, the rise of variable renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, is creating a new paradigm in the energy sector: more and more renewable electricity is produced when there is no demand. And this electricity is simply wasted. In this situation, it has become more and more relevant to harness wasted renewable electricity to produce clean heat and electricity on demand. However, we still face a technological problem: we lack the technology that can store and producing this energy on demand in an economical way. The lack of technologies for long-duration storage of renewable energy is presently a big impediment for embracing wind or solar technology. The outputs of NATHALIE project show the great potential market for UTES / LHTPV technology in the fields that were analysed, but also in the grid energy market. On overall, the competitiveness of the EU economy and industry is directly related to Europe’s capacity to rapidly swift to green energy production and storage, and the LHTPV / UTES technology analysed in this project is called to play an important role in this change of paradigm.