12 Apr 2020

Innovation outlook: Thermal energy storage

Transforming the global energy system in line with global climate and sustainability goals calls for rapid uptake of renewables for all kinds of energy use. Thermal energy storage (TES) can help to integrate high shares of renewable energy in power generation, industry and buildings.

This outlook from the International Renewable Energy Agency (2020) highlights key attributes of TES technologies and identifies priorities for ongoing research and development. Among other findings: TES use in district heating and cooling effectively decouples demand from supply, allowing energy to be stored on a seasonal basis. District heating already incorporates sensible heat technologies such as tank TES (or TTES) and underground TES (or UTES). Water tank TES (or WTTES), already widely used in buildings, is also coming into increasing use for solar thermal plants in the mining, food and textile industries.

Authors: IRENA

Keywords: thermal energy storage, flexibility, technologies, policy recommendations, district heating and cooling