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Residential thermal storage for smart buildings, THUMBS UP thinks

Phase change materials, digital twins and BEMS for new residential thermal storage ecosystem

Leverage the Power-to-Heat paradigm (literally “from electricity to heat”) to make European buildings suppliers of network flexibility. This is one of the ambitious objectives of THUMBS UP, a new research project funded by the Horizon Europe programme. The initiative has started in these days and in the next 48 months will test the experience and know-how of its consortium to realize and demonstrate new solutions for residential thermal storage.

These days the Italian algoWatt has taken part in the project with the role of “digital energy solution provider and system integrator”. What is your job? Develop an energy management system for smart buildings, which dialogues directly with heat storage technologies.

Thumbs Up, thumbs up for smart buildings

The ultimate goal of THUMBS UP is to create a kind of smart ecosystem at the building level that increases the energy efficiency of buildings on the one hand and makes them service providers on the other. An approach already exploited in the electric field, but still not widespread in the thermal one. The 18 partners of the project, including the University of Genoa, the University of Messina and the Polytechnic of Turin, will work together to develop residential thermal storage systems on a daily basis (using materials with ecological phase change) and on a weekly basis (through materials for thermochemical storage). State-of-the-art solutions to be integrated in buildings connected to district heating and other networks, for which the project aims to increase performance, overcome technical limits and reduce capital intensity factors.

To capitalise on the experience already available within the THUMBS UP consortium, partners will promote complementary digital innovations aimed at simulating, optimising and maximising the benefits of thermal storage solutions. algoWatt’s Energy Management System (BEMS) will integrate, control and manage building-level design solutions, maximising the use of local renewable sources, optimizing the efficiency of heating and cooling systems, and coordinating operation with energy demand. Added to this will be the development of a digital twin (Digital Twin) aimed at maximising the energy flexibility and load shifting benefits that integrated solutions in buildings provide to the electricity grid. By coordinating thermal accumulation with heat supply by district heating networks.

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