This World Energy Day, multinational energy provider Enel has announced that it is partnering with Norwegian cleantech company EnergyNest to explore thermal energy storage solutions.

Thermal energy storage allows excess thermal energy to be stored and used at a later date, such as balancing of energy demand between daytime and nighttime, storing summer heat for winter heating, or winter cold for summer air conditioning. The technology is vital for creating a reliable grid system, as it balances out supply and demand, and ensures that energy is used more efficiently.

The collaboration launched with EnergyNest gives Enel the chance to evaluate EnergyNest’s Thermal Energy Battery solution in real-life conditions and identify full-scale business applications for the technology integrated into thermal power plants.

The objective of the innovative project is to demonstrate how waste heat recovery in Thermal Energy Storage can increase flexibility and sustainability of thermal power plants.

This will allow Enel to assess technology robustness, its potential contribution to increasing efficiency and its positive environmental impact.

Environmental impact of thermal energy storage

According to EnergyNest, impressive economic and climate-relevant figures could be achieved by the company’s latest thermal energy storage technology when integrated in full-scale, including annual CO2 reduction of up to 45,000 tonnes, 14 million litres of fuel oil saved per year and project payback in less than three years.

Last week, EnergyNest unveiled its first thermal battery module produced in its new manufacturing hub in Europoort, Rotterdam. Manufacturing for two commercial projects is now expected to start at the end of the year.

The battery delivers four energy streams (electricity, process steam, district heating and cooling) with energy-efficiency of up to 98%. The solution is at least 50% cheaper than any other storage alternative, such as conventional batteries or molten salt.

Energy storage is one of the most important aspects of power generation, with efficient storage vital to increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the grid.