Funder: UKRI – EPSRC
Duration: 1st October 2020 – 30th September 2024
Staff Involved: Prof NJ Hewitt, Dr M Huang, Dr N Shah, Dr I Vorushylo
The contribution to decarbonising heat in buildings (both domestic and commercial) when utilising renewable electricity are well known and easy to appreciate. However, it is simplistic to think that with enough wind turbines, PV panels, etc. to produce renewable electricity and enough electric heat pumps to heat homes and other buildings that the problem will be solved. Even with very efficient heat pumps the peak electricity load on a Winter's morning might be 2 or 3 times the present grid and distribution system capacity and this does not include the effect of simultaneously charging the large number of electric vehicles expected in the future. The problem is complicated by the possibility of decarbonised gas (whether hydrogen or biogas) in a new or repurposed gas grid, partial enhancement of the electricity grid, etc. Possible ways to mitigate these problems will include both electricity and thermal storage to manage peak loads, either at consumer level or more centralised. This proposal concentrates on heat storage, which is many times less costly per MJ that electricity storage. The concept is to store heat at the consumer's (domestic or commercial) heat pump so that the heat pump can operate when most advantageous to the system, i.e. when there is surplus renewable electricity (predominantly wind and PV). Heat is drawn from the store when there is a higher demand for or lower availability of renewable electricity. Here we consider storage times of hours to a day, but not weeks or inter-seasonally.