Grant-funded field-trial tackling lulls in renewable energy generation and cutting carbon emissions from household heating systems
The EXTEND project aims to replace household boilers fired by fossil fuels with thermal energy storage and heat pumps, with the purpose of moving forward with the electrification of heat.
EXTEND combines a longer-duration thermal storage system and a smart heating controller with household energy systems to tackle periods of low renewable generation, known as “dunkelflaute.”
EXTEND in a nutshell
During the two-year project, we will develop, build and trial the EXTEND solution in 100 homes around the UK, and evaluate the effects a fleet of EXTEND thermal storage systems would have if a large number of them were deployed onto a specific area of the electricity network.
To reach the project’s purpose, Sunamp is working with four leading companies in the UK’s transition to a renewable, zero-carbon energy system – myenergi, Energy Systems Catapult, Ripple Energy and Fischer Future Heat.
Funding is through the UK Government’s Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration programme, announced in November 2022.
Space heating and hot water
A heat pump will charge renewable heat into a large-capacity heat battery, delivering space heating and hot water on demand.
The bulk of input electrical energy will be from on- and off-site wind energy. Householders will have the option of part ownership of a wind farm through Ripple Energy.
The proposed system uses smart control logic from myenergi and Sunamp, and a significantly larger thermal storage from Sunamp to overcome lulls in renewable energy supply.
EXTEND partners and granting body
Designs and manufactures space-saving thermal storage
Designs and manufactures smart home energy products
Energy Systems Catapult
Runs real-world, net zero testing
Enables consumers to own stakes in large-scale wind projects
Fischer Future Heat
Provides customer relations expertise and field-trial installers
The £9.25 million project funding for EXTEND was awarded through the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and its Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration programme, part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), which provides funding for low-carbon technologies and systems.
EXTEND systems in homes will help the UK ride out lulls in renewable energy generation and will allow homeowners to cut their carbon emissions and benefit from lower cost tariffs for flexible demand and participation in grid-supporting measures.”
Andrew Bissell, Sunamp’s chief executive
Research and development
November 2022 to September 2024
Starting December 2023
Main field trial
October 2024 – February 2025
Trial decommissioning and final reporting
February 2025 – Spring 2025
Frequently asked questions
The field trial will be run using Energy System Catapult’s real-world test environment called the Living Lab. To register your interest in taking part please leave your details below. We will be updating this page to share more relevant information about how to sign up, so please do check back again.
The EXTEND project is developing a new generation of thermal storage optimised for space heating that will allow homeowners to decarbonise their homes and keep relying on cost-effective renewable energy even during “dunkelflaute” periods, where little to no wind or solar energy is being generated. To do this, we will extend our existing energy-dense heat battery technology to a prototype range of thermal batteries that have increased storage duration and capacity. The longer duration energy storage system will be designed to be readily compatible with a large share of the UK housing stock, while still providing the energy efficiency and renewable share of a heat pump system.
The field trial is due to start in December 2023 in 100 homes around the UK. Before the start of the trial, every prospective participant will be given information about the system to be installed in their homes, the scope of the trial and the decommissioning to return their home to its pre-trial state. We’ll share more information on this web page when it is available.
Yes. The EXTEND thermal storage system is an extension of Sunamp’s well-established technology and introduces a doubling of the useful energy content inside the store compared to the normal operating range of Sunamp’s other heat batteries. EXTEND project thermal batteries are for both domestic space heating and hot water, and are specifically designed to be compatible with heat pumps. This means they need to have larger energy storage capacities than our current Thermino battery range, which delivers hot water only. The project is assessing the feasibility of developing three differently sized, demonstration prototype heat batteries - a dishwasher sized model suitable for small or well-insulated new build properties, a refrigerator sized model for typical semi-detached and smaller (or well-insulated) detached properties, and an American fridge-freezer sized model for larger properties. These batteries will benefit from a very high energy density within a relatively small amount of space, ensuring they are highly practical and cost-effective in the average UK home.
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