Smart thermal storage is the missing link in the energy transition

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The new Ecovat factory is going at full speed. Soon, the company will place its first energy storage container in the soil of Het Dorp in Arnhem. “With Ecovat we make affordable carbon emission-free heating possible, even when renewable sources are temporarily unavailable,’ says company founder and owner Aris de Groot. ‘What’s more, I wish to convey a more complete message. Smart heat storage is a vital part of the sustainable energy system of the future.”

“Smart thermal storage is the missing link in the energy transition”

While a traditional building is a closed space with a technical system, the building of the future is a technical system encompassed by a closed space. “And it is specifically regarding this technical system that things often go wrong”, according to De Groot. “Builders search for a way to make processes copyable. Consumers however need their comfort to be attuned to their need continuously, also when it comes to energy. Energy storage is a logical consequence of that.”

Het Dorp

In the meantime, Ecovat has reached the marketing phase. There are 3 available models. The smallest one has a 30 meter diameter, with a ditto depth and a volume of 20,000 cubic metres. The largest model contains at least 70,000 cubic metres of water. Ecovat has stationed the production of the parts in a factory in Oss, which by now is going at full speed. The first Ecovat – leaving aside the demo model – will be placed in the soil of Het Dorp in Arnhem, which in the years to come will be transformed into a technological smart and healthy living environment where people with a disability can live as comfortably as possible.

Missing link

“That really gets us under way,” says De Groot. “Nonetheless, what I wish to prevent is that the Ecovat story is reduced to a one-dimensional message. Ecovat’s self-managing and autonomous operating system allows us to anticipate the flexibility of energy. It bases its actions on the weather forecast and current energy prices. This makes it cost-effective and suitable for meso-level grid balancing.

That is great, but seeing the big picture is even more important. The Netherlands – as was laid down in the Climate Agreement – want to fully switch over from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This has to be actualized by 2050. In order to realize this, building solar panels and wind turbines – regardless of the amount – is not enough. We need to store that energy for the times in which the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. Further to this, it is a fact that 50% of our energy need consists of heat(ing). Energy storage therefore is the missing link for the transition to a national sustainable energy system.

Read the full article in the June edition of Smart Storage Magazine.