Zero Energy Building Market to Develop with the New Breakthrough on Phase-Change Materials to help Power Heating and Cooling System All Year

Posted On April 16, 2022     

If a battery stores energy, then storing hot or cold water to power a building's heating or cooling system is a different sort of energy storage. The technique, known as thermal energy storage, has been available for a long time but is frequently disregarded.

Recently, a team has made a breakthrough concerning phase-change materials. The development would enhance the affordability of thermal energy storage. Further, it could contribute to the Zero Energy Building Market as well. This is because the material can be directly added within walls and can autonomously decide whether to keep the building cold or warm as per the surrounding temperature while not consuming any heat.

The study aimed to overcome challenges presented by water-based thermal energy storage. The team is looking forward to creating next-generation systems and materials applicable as cooling or heating medium. Moreover, researchers are developing a framework to evaluate the tools and costs of the materials. This would help them arrive at the most cost-efficient approach.

 If thermal energy storage is used with abundantly found raw materials, the demand for electrochemical storage will ease. Further, it would also free up batteries in areas where thermal energy storage cannot be utilized.

The present research is the first time where dynamic tunability within phase-change materials has been introduced. The approach uses ions and unique material, thus combining thermal energy and electrical energy storage. This enables storage and supply of both electricity as well as heat.

The most novel aspect of the technology is the combination of two phenomena in one device. It acts as a thermal and electric battery. In addition, this feature enhances thermal storage potential because of the capacity to alter the material's melting point depending on ambient temperatures. This will significantly expand the use of phase-change materials.

Broadly, the technology could considerably help reduce the cost of storage as now the same material can be used all around the year for warming and cooling the building instead of half a year. Interestingly, electricity and thermal energy storage ability in large-scale building constructions would enable the material to store extra electricity. Either wind or on-site solar operation can provide this to meet both cooling and heating needs.

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