Workshop on Fundamental Needs for Dynamic and Interactive Thermal Storage Solutions for Buildings

Hosted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Nov 19th: 8:00am - 5:30pm

Nov 20th: 8:00am - 1:00pm

Venue: LBNL, Berkeley CA. ~ Bld. 50 Auditorium

Driven by the deployment of variable renewable energy capacity at large scale, energy storage systems have turned into an important element to supply on-demand electricity. Most existing energy storage solutions are electrochemical (batteries) or electromechanical (flywheels, pumped storage). In buildings, since 50% of the energy consumed is for thermal end uses, thermal energy storage can also play an important role in facilitating a balanced energy system that is efficient, resilient, and affordable. While readily available, deployment of traditional latent energy thermal storage in buildings is still limited primarily because it charges and discharges passively in response to ambient temperatures and it can only shift to off-peak hours either in heating or cooling modes, not both. Additionally, most phase change materials suffer from issues such as supercooling, broad transition temperatures, low energy density, poor heat transfer, degradation with cycling, and high prices. All these problems collectively make existing thermal energy storage inefficient and expensive. Therefore, it is imperative to develop truly disruptive thermal storage solutions that enable control of charging and discharging and address the major shortcomings of existing technologies.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are inviting a group of researchers with backgrounds in materials science, thermal science, building science, electrochemistry, and organic chemistry to discuss and investigate dynamic and interactive thermal energy storage solutions and its adjacent systems for building applications. Program managers from U.S. Department of Energy and California Energy Commission (CEC) will participate in the workshop. The aim of the workshop is to revisit recent breakthroughs and identify future research opportunities in scientific areas related to

1. Dynamically tunable thermal storage materials that can modify their switching temperature or characteristics to operate optimally in both summer and winter

2. Thermal circuits elements (analogous to electrical circuits) diodes, switches, and transistors, which could control directional heat and mass transfer and thus provide management over the timing of charging or discharging

3. Characterization tools and techniques to understand fundamental issues such as supercooling, non-equilibrium phases, slow kinetics, and poor cyclability in thermal energy storage materials

4. Expedite discovery of new materials using computational materials design for thermal energy solutions, combinatorial synthesis, and high throughput characterization

Additional details will follow as we finalize the agenda of the workshop.



Lead: Sumanjeet "Suman" Kaur (LBNL) and Marcus Bianchi (NREL)

Support: Ravi Prasher (LBNL), Roderick Jackson (NREL) and Judith Vidal (NREL)