Surplus heat generated from industrial sectors amounts to between 20% and 50% of the total industrial energy input. Smart reuse of surplus heat resulted from industrial sectors and power generation companies is an opportunity to improve the overall energy efficiency through more efficient use the primary energy sources. A potential solution to tackle this issue is through use of thermal energy storage (TES) to match user demand to that of the generated surplus heat. A mobile TES (M-TES) concept of transportation of industrial surplus heat from production sites to end customers has shown promising results. One commissioned demonstration project using industrial heat for swimming pool water temperature regulation in Dortmund, Germany proved the interest and attention given to this concept.
In this paper, a techno-economic case study in Sweden of transportation of surplus thermal energy to district heating in smart cities is presented. The application consists of heat storage at 110°C–130°C through the use of phase change materials (PCM) based TES, notably with use of Erythritol (90 kWh/ton) for the considered temperature range, to remote district heating network located at 48 km from the thermal energy generation site. The advantages of using latent heat based PCM are the high enthalpy density per unit volume and per unit mass, as well as the quasi-constant temperature during charging and releasing of heat. The M-TES in this study has a total storage capacity of 2.1 MWh, the optimization of charge/discharge time to the amount of stored/released energy and to that of energy transportation rate is presented in this paper. Contrary to logical thinking, it is shown through this work that under certain conditions, it is more cost-effective to operate at partial load of storage units albeit the increased number of transport trips and charge/discharge cycles.