Heat storage makes the difference

Heat storage is an essential part of a very broad range of renewable energy systems: from solar collectors to biomass boilers, from micro-cogeneration to heat pumps. The technologies available for heat storage are also very diverse, including hot water tanks, phase change materials, and sorption storages.

Heat storage is an enabling technology: without it, renewable heating would not be possible. Although heat storage itself is rather invisible, its impact on the amount of renewable energy generated in your house, your city, and your country is huge.

Better heat storage: more renewable energy

By improving the effectiveness of heat storage, we can improve the effectiveness of all renewable energy technologies that use heat storage. With advanced heat storage technologies, it becomes possible to store summer solar heat for the winter, raising the solar fraction to 100%. With compact heat storages, fuel cells and Stirling engines can be operated more efficiently by closely following the electricity demand.

Building a community

Due to the large diversity in heat storage technologies and systems, the number of companies and institutes working on heat storage technologies is very large. Most of these companies are small to medium sized enterprises with small R&D budgets and no possibilities for long-term investments. And because it is difficult to express heat storage in terms of policy goals, there is currently no long-term strategy by European and national policy makers. To effectively develop and improve heat storage technologies, a coordinated and programmed international approach is required.

PREHEAT: promoting heat storage

PREHEAT, a European project within the Intelligent Energy for Europe framework, aims to increase the visibility of heat storage and the funding possibilities for development and implementation of improved heat storage technologies. On the long term, PREHEAT aims at a coherent European promotion program with a collective approach by the industry, R&D institutions and other market actors.

To achieve this, PREHEAT has started by analysing the decision making process, and by finding the most effective ways to reinforce existing policies. By describing present and future markets for heat storage technologies, PREHEAT will provide European industry and decision makers with a reference framework to maximise the environmental, commercial and economic benefits of heat storage.

An important contribution is anticipated from leading industry representatives and decision makers, by means of two high-level international events in 2007 and 2008, as well as a series of national workshops.