Thermal Energy

In many countries new technologies are being developed to transition to a more sustainable way of producing and using energy. For most households the main forms of required energy are electricity and heat. Part of the expertise group Sustainable Process & Energy Systems looks at this heat; its generation, usage, and storage.

In many countries new technologies are being developed to transition to a more sustainable way of producing and using energy. For most households the main forms of required energy are electricity and heat. Here we focus on heat; its generation, usage, and storage.

In generating heat, we have inherited a long history of expertise in thermal solar collectors. Optimisation as well as certification (according to ISO 9806 & ISO 9459) is carried out mostly on-site at our clients, with experiments in TNO labs for verification. Coupled with our capabilities in the measuring of, and our knowledge about glazing and insulation, this gives us a complete picture of the thermal balance in dwellings. Thus products can be certified, as well as their yearly performance estimated.

This combined expertise also plays a large role in our interest in heat storage. The development of a compact, seasonal heat battery would allow for the storage of excess solar heat in summer for use in winter. For this, the thermochemical method of heat storage is especially attractive. Based on dehydration and hydration of specific salts, storage occurs by separating water from the salts, making the storage fundamentally loss-less. In 2016, we showed reversible loading and unloading of a state-of-the-art heat battery in a demonstrators with a complete domestic hot water system.

New technologies for energy conversion are also explored. Magnetocaloric cooling uses switching magnetic fields to cool materials. Already used to reach ultra-low temperatures for research purposes, now the focus has shifted to room-temperature applications. This more basic research holds promise for the future, ensuring that our work will continue to contribute to a sustainable world.

Practically, some of the research we can do:

  • determine the optical (emission/absorption, transmission, reflection: EN 410 & 673) and thermal transmission (U-value: EN-ISO 12567) properties of materials;
  • evaluate solar collectors and boilers in-situ, as well as theoretically (ISO 9806 & ISO 9459);
  • determine physiochemical and thermal properties of materials for use in thermal storage and conversion. We use both commercial and in-house developed equipment, for example:
    • Clausius-Clapeyron (pressure-temperature diagram);
    • Vacuum thermogravity analysis (TGA);
    • Thermal & vapour cycling of thermochemical material.
  • advise on thermochemical materials and devices, for example heat pumps or heat batteries;
  • model complete thermal systems that include heat generation, storage, and use based on reference data (NEN 7120 & NEN 5060);
  • build and investigate demonstrators of thermo-power systems.

Please feel welcome to contact us if you have any questions or interest in energy and heat.

Sustainable Process & Energy Systems

Ing. Ronald van den Berg

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