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Successful cold storage in Chemnitz is the driving force behind the development of new, cost-effective heat storage in segment construction

This summer, temperatures rose to more than 40 degrees Celsius in many places across Germany. The potential of solar heat was huge and yet often remained unused. "Inexpensive heat storage can help here - even when it comes to using waste heat sensibly," says PD Dr. Thorsten Urbaneck, Head of Thermal Energy Storage at the Professorship for Technical Thermodynamics at Chemnitz University of Technology. Stored heat can not only be used in heating networks, with the help of thermal cooling machines, for example, a sufficiently cold climate can also be provided in buildings. Researchers at Chemnitz University of Technology and the University of Stuttgart are currently working with engineers from FARMATIC from Nortorf (Schleswig-Holstein) to develop a concept for an inexpensive segmented heat storage system. The sealant and insulation manufacturer Sika Germany, BASF - Polyurethane and 3M Germany are also involved in the “Aboveground storage tank in segment design for heat supply systems” (OBSERW). The research project will run until the beginning of 2018 and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the Energy Storage Research Initiative.

"There is no such thing as one ideal standard storage unit. Every energy depot must be individually adapted to the circumstances, with the needs of consumers in communities, settlements or industrial parks in the foreground," explains Urbaneck. Therefore, the heat storage of the future should be assembled from modular steel segments on a concrete foundation and screwed on site. "The shape and size of the storage tanks can be adapted very flexibly," says the Chemnitz researcher. The capacity of the previously planned reservoirs is between 500 and 8,000 cubic meters of water.

Urbaneck was motivated to store in segmented construction back in 2003. At that time, he and Stadtwerke Chemnitz AG (today: eins energie in Sachsen GmbH and Co. KG) planned Germany's first large-scale short-term cold storage facility on Georgstrasse in Chemnitz. It contains 3,500 cubic meters of cold water and today supplies many customers in the city with district cooling via a 4.5 kilometer pipe system - including the opera, museums, shopping centers and the university. This pilot project, which Urbaneck is still in charge of today, has now been followed by storage facilities in Biberach, Freiberg and Freiburg. Cold water storage tanks from Chemnitz are also being used at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport that is being developed. The experiences from cold storage are now being transferred to hot water storage tanks. A pilot storage facility with a capacity of 100 cubic meters is currently being built in Nortorf, where a new wall structure is also to be tested in practice for the first time. "Our goal is to keep the construction costs as low as possible compared to other storage concepts, to minimize the use of materials and to set up the storage facility within a few weeks," says Urbaneck. Furthermore, the new heat storage should be characterized by low heat losses, a high charging capacity and permanent tightness. “The knowledge gained will later be transferred to much larger storage facilities,” Urbaneck looks ahead.

Homepage of the OBSERW project:www.obserw.de

Publication reference: The experience of cold storage gained in Chemnitz is a focus of the newly published BINE technical book "Cooling and air conditioning with heat". Lead authors are PD Dr. Thorsten Urbaneck from Chemnitz University of Technology, Head of Thermal Energy Storage, and Dr. Hans-Martin Henning, head of department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.

additional Information grants PD Dr. Thorsten Urbaneck, Professorship of Technical Thermodynamics, phone 0371 531-32463, email [email protected]

Mario Steinebach
25.08.2015

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