Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ruck
Raum C13.231
Scharnhorststr. 1, 21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-2870
Fax +49.4131.677-2871
Email

Implementation

The total project period extends over three years and is part of the Sustainability Research Initiative of Leuphana University. By developing a thermochemical heat pump, a new concept is pursued which combines thermochemical and latent heat storage (“thermal battery”). Contrasted with sensitive and latent heat storage materials, thermochemical heat storage systems provide significantly increased storage capacities at a reasonable price. They maintain the temperature at a constant level, store heat with hardly any loss of heat, and are made of materials of which there is no general shortage, because adequate material is often available either in nature or as industrial waste material. Research activities are aimed at reducing the share of latent heat storage to a minimum by optimizing integration into the micro combined heat and storage station, by optimizing the processes in place and the storage materials, and by using technical materials instead of high-purity materials.

The concept provides for merging a great number of these stations to form a centrally controlled group. To achieve this target, the researchers involved in this project will first develop a concept on how to integrate thermochemical heat pumps into a home power plant system. Subsequent production and distribution of the heat storage system shall be organized by a company in Lüneburg. We succeeded in making a private energy supply company become a cooperation partner who wants to use the heat storage systems in its micro combined heat and power stations.

Responsibility for the project, which has 12 team members, lies with Prof. Dr. Ing. Wolfgang Ruck, Professor for Environmental Chemistry at the Institute of Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry. The project team will be supported by the international tandem partner, Prof. Mohammed Farid from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Brief Description

Heat is an important form of energy which is often underestimated in public perception. The heat demand accounts for 66 percent of the total usable energy demand in Germany and other countries with temperate climates and thus is of significant importance to energy consumption. The amount of unused waste heat, such as heat arising from power generation, is double the amount when compared to the amount of energy required for residential space heating, hot water preparation, and process heating tasks. If we succeed in using these amounts of unused waste heat to meet the heat demand, this will result in significant savings of energy production. However, the heat to be used must be transportable and storable, because there are only few cases in which waste heat can be used on site. One solution would be to use compact heat storage systems: they are a key technology in waste heat use, because they allow for flexible and independent use of heat.

The competence tandem is developing a compact heat storage system intended to be used specifically for micro combined heat and power stations. These are decentralized “home” power plants that can supply single-family or multi-family homes with heat. The heat storage system ensures decoupling of energy production and heat demand, if possible; this way the combined heat and power stations can store the heat produced and feed excessive power into the central power grid.

The underlying concept provides for merging a great number of these plants to form a centrally controlled group. We succeeded in making a private energy supply company become a cooperation partner who wants to use the heat storage systems in their micro combined heat and power stations.

Project Objectives

The objective of this project is to develop and successfully test a prototype of the heat storage system with a storage capacity of 80 kilowatt hours and a volume of 1 cubic meter for subsequent serial production. Developing a compact heat storage system requires establishing an appropriate process that is suitable to use this system as an on-site high performance heat storage system. The “Thermal Battery” competence tandem is researching the field of heat storage using reversible chemical reactions for various applications. Using different storage materials, the “Thermal Battery” system can be easily adapted to different applications and thus is available for both stationary and mobile use.

The economic objective is to set up a group of mini combined heat and power stations in the Lüneburg convergence region. It is intended, jointly with a cooperation partner from the field of business, to merge a great number of these small stations to form a centrally controlled group in order to supply the market with energy from the heat storage systems. The water storage systems currently available in the market to store heat need a lot of space due to their volume; this is why use of these systems is strongly restricted, particularly with private households. More compact heat storage systems could serve as a useful remedy and ensure both improved marketability of the micro combined heat and power stations and hence improved sales opportunities.

This research project is supported by the European Union and the federal state of Lower Saxony.