Our work

EINSTEIN: Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage Systems

The EU project EINSTEIN aims to reduce the (primary) energy consumption in buildings by a combination of Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage (STES) to store solar thermal energy and high efficiency heat pumps.

Energy use in buildings accounts for approximately 40% of EU energy consumption. The potential to save energy is largest in the existing building stock. New developments and adaptation of existing technologies are needed for a drastic reduction of energy use.

A promising methodology consists of large scale seasonal energy storage systems, such as aquifers and tanks or pits. The stores are filled in summertime with heat harvested by solar collectors. In wintertime, the stored heat is used and upgraded to a higher temperature level if needed, using a high efficiency heat pump. The heat is used for space heating and domestic hot water.

The EINSTEIN project focuses on:

  • Adaptation of STES systems for existing buildings
  • Development of a compact heat pump tailored to existing buildings and optimized for higher temperature heat sources such as STES systems
  • Demonstration of the concept in two pilot plants in Spain and Poland
  • Development of advanced heat storage in the form of a thermochemical reactor on lab scale
  • Development of a Decision Support Tool to aid decisions in retrofitting projects, including optimisation of the level of thermal insulation, feasibility of STES systems etc.

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