Today, the problem originally known as global warming and now better known as climate change has become a social, economic, and environmental concern that can no longer be considered theoretical. The global mean temperature for 2021 (as of September) was about 1.09°C, or 34 degrees Fahrenheit, above the 1850-1900 average. Currently, the six datasets used by WMO in the analysis place 2021 as the sixth or seventh warmest year on record globally. And now, there is no path to changing that statistic that doesn’t involve dramatically shifting to renewable energy sources.
Across the globe, renewable energy sources are currently seen as alternative options but are quickly becoming commonplace as the fight against climate change continues. Current progress and projections already show that by 2050, 50% of the world’s energy will come from renewable energy. The future goal is to shift completely to clean energy sources in order to realize the many advantages of renewable energy.
Many countries and states within the U.S, have already begun adopting and leveraging different forms of renewable energies to decrease their carbon footprint. Two of the most popular have been solar energy and wind energy, as they’re usually abundant renewable energy sources regardless of location. It is widely recognized that highly efficient storage of renewable energy is key to lowering carbon emissions associated with heating and cooling which uses over 80% of energy in homes today. Historically heat has been stored in hot water tanks. Now, modern-day more compact heat batteries are quickly gaining traction.
Sunamp thermal storage uses phase change material (PCM) to store heat generated from renewable heating system for use when it is needed. This technology holds myriad benefits in the fight against climate change, such as helping renewable heating systems work more efficiently and reducing the quantity of fossil fuels used. For reasons like this, thermal storage is rapidly being adopted in different spots around the world, with the most recent being New York.
Sunamp recently announced that thermal storage technology, developed in the U.K., is to be installed in residential and commercial buildings in New York as part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s NextGen HVAC Innovation Challenges award.
Sunamp received a $668,000 award following a successful bid with Optimized Thermal Systems Inc., LaBella Associates, and James D Warren and Son Inc., in response to a competitive solicitation by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The project will demonstrate potential ways to lower carbon emissions, reduce fuel costs, and improve energy resilience associated with heating and cooling.
“Through support of solutions like Sunamp’s heating and cooling technology, we are advancing building electrification to lower carbon emissions as we progress toward New York’s State’s goal for economy-wide carbon neutrality,” said Doreen M. Harris, President, and CEO of NYSERDA. “We welcome Sunamp to New York as part of our ongoing commitment to fostering innovation that delivers enhanced energy efficiency solutions while growing our clean energy economy.”
Sunamp thermal batteries are based on the company’s patented Plentigrade phase change materials. They have proven to lower carbon emissions and energy use in connection with heating and cooling in UK installations. They are up to four times smaller and will store up to four times more energy than the hot water tanks they replace and can be charged by a wide choice of energy sources. Thermal batteries can use cheaper night rate electricity or surplus renewable electricity generation during the day to reduce the peak heat-driven electrical demands on the network.
It is envisaged that the integration of Sunamp’s ultra-compact storage with clean heating and cooling technologies and renewable energy sources, such as solar and geothermal, will enable electrification of heating loads while mitigating electricity supply issues.
Thermal batteries will be installed in up to eight archetype buildings and heating systems commonly found across the state to evaluate how Sunamp’s technology can be transferred to New York to help the state meet its ambitious carbon reduction target, improve grid resilience, and assist in lowering fuel bills for the end client.
Furthermore, in some projects, Sunamp heat batteries may be combined with a high-temperature heat pump to provide space heating and hot water, allowing consumers to benefit from low-cost electricity periods. In others, solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity and solar thermal energy may be used to directly charge the thermal battery or run chillers to provide demand shifted cooling. Gas grid efficiency is anticipated to improve using Sunamp thermal batteries to capture waste heat and preheat coils within gas-powered systems’ forced air ducting and hydronic loop.
“It’s amazing to be working with New York State to help meet their aim of building a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers,” said William Edrich, global head of commercial and industrial, Sunamp. “It’s particularly exciting because it marks Sunamp’s official launch into the US market. We are on the lookout for additional project sites and are actively building a talented team on the ground in New York to begin the rollout of Sunamp products across the country.”
“Through these projects, we will demonstrate how our technology can improve the efficiency of the existing typical heating and cooling systems, help overcome network constraint issues and maximize the capture of renewable energy by demand shifting into thermal storage.”