Thermal component activation uses existing structural masses in buildings (e.g. concrete elements) for heating and cooling purposes. Integrated piping introduces heat and cold into these elements, allowing heat or cold to be delivered to the interior spaces in contact. However, due to the inherent thermal inertia of these large, high-mass components, they could also act as a new type of energy storage by allowing them to be temporarily overheated or subcooled without negatively impacting the indoor climate and occupant comfort. This storage potential can not only be used directly for thermal energy storage, but is also relevant for load management and self-consumption optimization in the electricity sector via power-to-heat solutions (e.g. heat pumps). Thermal component activation therefore represents a large storage potential in both new construction and refurbishment, and brings unique benefits to the renewable-based, integrated energy system of the future.
The main goal of IEA ES Task 43 on “Storage for renewables and flexibility through standardized use of building mass”, is to prepare the storage technology for widespread integration on an international level, harnessing the benefits of this storage on local, quarter and city level respectively. ES Task 43 will provide answers to four main research areas vital for market uptake and future standardization:
There are existing implementations and activities in international markets, however standardized fabrication and construction methods as well as cost predictions and flexibility related business models are missing and hampering market uptake. Task 43 will generate the necessary answers to those and key barriers through the collaboration of many international experts working on the topic and through learning from best practice examples. The generated results will be prepared and made available for the public and most importantly relevant stakeholders. This will form the foundation for a constant increase in thermal activated building mass deployment in new or refurbished buildings, enabling them to more efficiently consume locally generated renewable energy and to act as flexibilities for thermal and electricity grids. Task 43 will address relevant technical and non-technical open questions in key areas, which are vital to the widespread deployment of the technology.
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