This paper describes the characterization of four salt hydrates as potential thermochemical material for compact seasonal heat storage in the built environment. First, magnesium sulfate was investigated in detail using TG-DSC apparatus. The results of this study revealed that magnesium sulfate is able to store almost 10 times more energy than water of the same volume. However, the material was unable to take up water (and release heat) under practical conditions. A new theoretical study identified three salt hydrates besides magnesium sulfate as promising materials for compact seasonal heat storage: aluminum sulfate, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride. These salt hydrates (including magnesium sulfate) were tested in a newly constructed experimental setup. Based on the observed temperature lift under practical conditions, it was found that magnesium chloride was the most promising material of the four tested salt hydrates. However, both calcium chloride and magnesium chloride tend to form a gel-like material due to melting or formation of a solution. This effect is undesired since it reduces the ability of the material to take up water again. Finally, it was observed that performing the hydration at low-pressure will improve the water vapor transport in comparison to atmospheric pressure hydration.

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