The overall aim of the proposed exchanged program is to extend, enhance and strengthen established collaboration among the INNOSTORAGE partners.
Thermal energy storage is proven to be an indispensable approach for improving the energy efficiency of different systems. In this project we aim to study means of improving the development of the constituent PCM, their encapsulation and use in a number of important applications in both the domestic and industrial sectors, with the final aim of achieving commercialisation in the European market.
The resulting benefits of the project to Europe are several ranging from sizable energy savings and significant environmental gains to commercial benefits coming from any IP gained from the new development to be achieved in this project. Other benefits will be coming from knowledge transfer through training students and research staff exchange of visits, which will follow the successful achievement of this project.
The main technical objectives of the project are:
- Development of new materials, with special emphasis to cost. New and low cost PCM and their composites are necessary for their successful commercial use in all applications, especially utilization in building materials. Low-cost materials development would benefit from the collaboration between The University of Auckl and and the University of Barcelona, both working on the topic.
- Determination of the thermophysical properties of the materials to be used. Most commercial PCM products have not been fully tested. The developments of new materials require rigorous testing for their thermal, chemical and mechanical properties. In this project, PCM material characterisation will be performed comparing the methodology usually used in Europe with that used in third countries (New Zealand, Australia and USA).
- Modelization of materials and systems, especially after validation, would allow to extrapolate the developments in the network to other climatologies, other systems, and other materials. Here, all partners have expertise in modelling thermal energy storage systems, but exchange of knowledge and data to validate those models would mean a step forward in the technology.
- Industrial applications of the phase change materials (PCM). Several technologies of thermal energy storage will be studied, such as PCM-water tanks for various applications such as solar cooling, with special emphasis to cold storage, in an effort to increase the energy efficiency of such systems. Asian and Oceanic countries have much more experience in cold storage than European countries (where only one company commercialises this technology). This project will give the opportunity to improve the European knowledge in this field. The interest of USA and Australia in solar applications, especially concentrated solar power (CSP), has grown markedly in the last few years. Cooperation between Spain, Israel and them would lead to an augmentation of the knowledge base.
- PCM in construction elements. The use of PCM in buildings reduces the energy needed for heating and air-conditioning over the year. The availability of new cubicles with different construction typologies (concrete, brick and alveolar brick) in the University of Lleida, with and without PCM inside their envelope, will allow to optimize this technology and also to compare it in situ with the “standard” cubicles. Furthermore, the knowledge of The University of Auckland in using PCM in timber and other building materials will allow introducing a new technology to Europe.
- A final objective is the environmental evaluation of the technology, therefore of the materials and systems developed. This evaluation would be done through embeded CO2 accounting, CO2 mitigation potential and LCA.
Additional objectives of the collaboration are:
- Increase of the individual mobility and career prospects of each individual researcher.
- Transfer of knowledge between research groups involved via exchange visits.
- Training opportunities for early stage researchers (ESR).
- Future scientific development of the groups through their involvement in projects relevant for future experiments.
- Dissemination of the results of the exchange activities.