Thermal storage manufacturer Sunamp has been awarded £149,893 of funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to further develop the proposals aimed at bringing forward the electrification of heat.

The funding is awarded through the Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration programme, part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) which provides funding for low-carbon technologies and systems.

The funding will be used to conduct a feasibility study into developing a new generation of thermal storage that allows homeowners to decarbonise their homes, while benefitting from savings through on and offsite renewables generation, lower cost tariffs for flexible demand or participation in grid supporting measures. The project will bring together some of UK’s leading innovators in electrification.

The UK energy system is often portrayed as needing gas to deal with peak space heating demand. Heat pumps powered by wind from the grid are dismissed as an option with reference to occasional periods of high pressure in winter known as “dunkelflaute” which can mean up to ten days of low or no wind. This project will investigate options to increase heat storage capacity to deliver warmth and hot water during the 10 days of a dunkleflaute, when renewable energy on the grid dips.

Sunamp is proposing a system that directly replaces boilers fired by fossil fuels. A heat pump will charge renewable heat into large capacity time-shifting thermal storage, delivering space heating and hot water on demand. The bulk of input electrical energy is from offsite wind energy. Customers will have the option of part ownership of a wind farm through project partners Ripple Energy. The proposed system uses smart control logic from myenergi and a significantly large thermal storage from Sunamp to overcome lulls in wind energy supply.

Sunamp chief executive Andrew Bissell said:
“Sunamp is a world leader in commercialising temperatures using phase change materials that are useful for space heating and hot water.

This funding will accelerate how we can further enhance thermal storage duration to meet the challenges of electrification of heat. Heat pumps with thermal storage have a much lower cost of operation than gas or night storage heaters. We are proposing a model where householders can directly own a share of a wind farm and can choose competitive tariffs which can be supplemented with solar PV to power their home heating system.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said:
“Driving forward energy storage technologies will be vital in our transition towards cheap, clean and secure renewable energy.

It will allow us to extract the full benefit from our home-grown renewable energy sources, drive down costs and end our reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels. Through this competition we are making sure the country’s most innovative scientists and thinkers have our backing to make this ambition a reality.”

Sunamp designs and manufactures compact heat batteries based on its patented Plentigrade® high-performance thermal storage technology platform. Sunamp heat batteries are easy to install, require no mandatory routine maintenance, help to overcome the intermittency issues of renewable energy, and lower carbon emissions. So far, Sunamp has delivered over 20,000 heat batteries into the market.

Published: 23 February 2022

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