Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Development of a system for storing large quantities of high temperature heat underground in a saturated sand environment

Availability and use of thermal energy doesn't always match with each other. This leads to the destruction of large amounts of energy, day in day out. The development of a huge underground energy storage system provides a solution for storing the heat on a long-term base (several months). Traditional tank storage systems are far to limited in size for this application.

Especially for high temperature heat this solution becomes interesting as it can be recuperated for direct use (without the use of heat pumps). The design and construction of such a system is significantly different to the traditional heat extraction by heat pumps. This system leads to large energy and cost savings which has a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction. For large storage systems (>1GWh of stored heat) very interesting economical perspectives can be reached.

There are numerous applications for this technology. All kinds of heat residues can be stored in the underground : waste heat from power plants, heat from industrial processes, condenser heat from chillers, heat from incinerators, solar heat, heat from a combined heat and power plant and even environmental heat during summer.

All kinds of end-users can benefit from this technology: industry, large building owners, office buildings, schools, hospitals, (in short, every one who has "waste" heat or a solar heat installation or a CHP plant). Solar heat applications often use only a fraction of the heat that can be captured with the system, as heat demand during summer time often is limited to sanitary hot water. Combined heat and power on the other hand, can't operate during summer time due to the same reason. Storing the solar or CHP heat during summer time with recuperation during winter also saves on capacity of the required heating system.

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