Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ACHEMA 2012 - Compact and flexible thermal storage

01.06.2012
Biogas plants, combined heat and power plants don’t just generate electricity, they also produce heat. However, unlike the electricity they yield, the heat generally dissipates unused. A new technology is set to change this: It will allow the heat to be stored lossfree in the smallest of spaces for lengthy periods of time, for use as and when required.

There’s a growing trend towards generating electricity from biogas. But these systems would be considerably more effective if better use could be made of the heat that is produced in the process.


These zeolite pellets can bind steam within their pores, generating heat. © Fraunhofer IGB

Roughly half of the total energy content of the fuel is released as heat, which typically dissipates into the atmosphere unused. Large quantities of heat likewise escape from combined heat and power plants, not to mention many industrial installations. The root of the problem lies in the fact that the heat is not generally used at the time it is generated – and options for storing it are limited.

Traditionally, water tanks have been used for this purpose, but they can only absorb a finite quantity of heat. And of course, the heat can only be stored for short periods of time, because although the water tanks are insulated, the water gradually loses its heat to the surrounding atmosphere.

Working together with industrial partners such as ZeoSys GmbH in Berlin, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart are currently developing a new type of thermal storage system. This new system can store three to four times the amount of heat that water can, so it only requires storage containers around a quarter the size of water tanks. Moreover, it is able to store the heat loss-free over lengthy periods of time and can even operate at temperatures well in excess of 100 degrees Celsius.

The new system contains zeolite pellets, from the Greek zeô, meaning ‘boil’ and lithos, meaning ‘stone’. Normally this material is used as an ion exchanger, for example to soften water. Because zeolites are porous, they have a huge surface area: A single gram of these pellets boasts a surface area of up to 1000 square meters. When the material comes into contact with water vapor, it binds the steam within its pores by means of a physicochemical reaction, which generates heat.

The water is in reverse removed from the material by the application of heat and the energy is stored, but not as a result of the material becoming palpably warm – as when water tanks are used. What is stored is the potential to adsorb water and in the process release heat; the term ‘sorptive thermal storage’ is frequently used to describe these systems. And provided the dried zeolite material is prevented from coming into contact with water, it can store the heat for an unlimited amount of time.

Mobile test facility with a storage volume of 750 liters

Although the basic principle has been widely understood for some time, it had never before been translated into a broad-based technical application for storage systems. “We took the principle and confirmed it was technically feasible,” says Mike Blicker, group manager, heat and sorption systems in the IGB. Initially, the researchers used a 1.5- and then a 15-liter reactor to demonstrate that the process really does work. Blicker explains: “First we developed the process engineering, then we looked around to see how we could physically implement the thermal storage principle – i.e. how a storage device has to be constructed, and at which locations heat exchangers, pumps and valves are needed.”

The institute’s development partners were responsible for the material testing side of the project, investigating which of the various zeolites would be best suited for the purpose, how big the zeolite pellets needed to be, and whether or not the material would remain stable even after numerous storage cycles.

They proved that heat could be stored and discharged many thousands of times without the system showing significant signs of wear and tear. The researchers subsequently up-scaled their operations to the current test facility, which has a storage volume of 750 liters and is mounted in a transportable container, along with all the additional equipment it requires. Its mobility allows the scientists to test the system in a variety of locations under realistic conditions.

The next stage of their work will be to reduce production costs, further optimize the system and adapt it for a variety of applications. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to store heat both in industrial installations and in small combined heat and power plants such as those used in larger residential buildings. To start with, priority will be given to industrial applications.

“It would be ideal if we were able to devise a modular system that would allow us to construct each storage device to suit the individual requirement,” says Blicker. The Fraunhofer researchers will be using a model system to demonstrate the principles of sorptive thermal storage at ACHEMA 2012 in Frankfurt from June 18 through 22 (Hall 9.2, Booth D64).

Mike Blicker | Fraunhofer Research News
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/june/compact-and-flexible-thermal-storage.html

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Special exhibition area "Microtechnologies for Optical Devices" establishes itself at W3
12.03.2020 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht Augmented reality system facilitates manual manufacturing of products made of fiber-reinforced composite materials
04.03.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Black nitrogen: Bayreuth researchers discover new high-pressure material and solve a puzzle of the periodic table

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Smart windows that self-illuminate on rainy days

29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>