Lleida University leads an international study on efficient thermal storage
The University of Lleida (Western Catalonia) will be leading the INNOSTORAGE Project regarding efficient thermal storage. They will focus their study on improving energy-storing by using Phase Change Materials and their temperature changes. The project, which is financed by the European Commission, aims at reducing CO2 emissions and saving energy by finding new efficient energy-storing systems. Thanks to the Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES), INNOSTORAGE brings together searchers from Catalonia, France, Israel, the United-States, Australia, and New-Zealand.
Lleida (ACN).- The University of Lleida (Western Catalonia) will be leading the INNOSTORAGE Project regarding efficient thermal storage. They will focus their study on improving energy-storing by using Phase Change Materials and their temperature changes. INNOSTORAGE is an international environmental project financed by the European Commission whose main goals are to save energy and to reduce CO2 emissions by finding new ways to store thermal energy. With a budget of € 142,800 from EU funds and thanks to the Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES), the project brings together over 30 experts from the Universities of Lleida, Barcelona, Lyon 1, Ben-Gurion (Israel), Auckland (New Zealand), South Australia, and Auburn (USA). INNOSTORAGE is conducted by one of the University of Lleida’s (UDL) research units: the GREA unit on Concurrent Innovation, led by Luisa F. Cabeza. It is the first time that the UdL will be leading a Marie Curie - IRSES Project, which was designed to improve searcher mobility not only in Europe, but in the whole world.
During four years, researchers will test different energy storage systems using Phase Change Materials (PCM). These materials, such as paraffin, salts and fatty acids, store temperature (heat or cold) during their change from solid state to liquid state. Their use in efficient thermal storage systems is very interesting since they can accumulate very large amounts of available energy at a narrow temperature range, explained Luisa F. Cabeza. Implementing such systems can amount to significant energy saving and CO2 emission cuts, she added.
That is why the searchers will also focus on developing PCM further. They are currently working on their encapsulation and on their possible applied uses in the industrial or domestic sectors. The clear objective is to sell this acquired knowledge on the market. While domestic applications are somewhat limited to air-conditioning systems notably, their uses in the industry are very varied and include solar cooling, waste heat recovery and its application to cogeneration facilities, among others.
The outline of the research, which is based on the experiences and skills of each participant, is organized in seven working units that will define and study the objectives, the costs of Phase Change Materials, the characterization of their thermo-physical properties, the modelling of the materials and systems and their respective applications in the industry.
The INNOSTORAGE project, which begins in November, includes many exchanges between researchers from the participating institutions. At the beginning of next year, the University of Lleida (UdL) will be welcoming 6 experts from the United States, New Zealand and Australia, while the UdL will be sending 9 of their own searchers to the universities of these countries in the summer. Visits to European universities also involved in the project are also expected.