Twenty-three parties from nine countries are collaborating in Heatstore. TNO is coordinating this project that aims to develop technologies for the storage of thermal energy and to demonstrate these in field trials. There are different configurations, combining heat sources, storage techniques and heat utilisation. Six practical trials are planned in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland. In addition to TNO, the Netherlands consultancy IF Technology, energy company ECW, water research institute KWR and the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) are also participants.
Underground storage does exist, but on much too small a scale and at relatively low temperatures. The aim is to demonstrate high temperature storage (HT-UTES) from 25 to 90 degrees in combination with various heat sources, such as geothermal, solar and residual heat from waste processing. The heat from these sources is stored in aquifers, via underground heat exchangers and in empty coal mines.
By intelligently combining heat sources and storage technologies, it should be possible to bridge a whole season with stored heat. The demand for heat from businesses, households and buildings can therefore be more suitably matched to the supply. The surplus in the summer is stored up to hundreds of metres deep to be able to supply heat networks again in the winter. With smart control technology, the consortium also wants to better manage the demand for heat and make the heat networks smarter. In this way, there can be further cost savings.
Geothermal energy in the broad sense, including storage of heat in the subsurface, has considerably higher potential than is currently being realised in practice. For large-scale combination of heat sources and heat storage, a number of technological barriers must be overcome. In addition to advancing technology , the project also focuses on social embedding, the investigation of various business models and legislation. The aim of the consortium is to shorten the period between the further development of the technology and the actual market introduction as much as possible.