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Are thermal batteries the future for heating big buildings?

Pablo Gutierrez in Budapest

 , Updated 01:00, 01-Apr-2024

In a move towards sustainability, the European Parliament has given the green light to a plan aimed at slashing energy consumption and greenhouse emissions across all new buildings by 2030. This initiative marks a significant shift in the construction industry, setting the stage for transformative changes in how buildings are designed and operated.

One innovative solution emerging on the forefront is the adoption of thermal batteries, heralded as the future of heating for large structures. Jozsef Kakas, CEO of HeatVentors, a Hungarian company specializing in thermal battery technology, champions these green innovations as key to realizing the EU's ambitious zero-emission targets. 

"A thermal battery stores cooling and heating energy from -30°C to 120°C," explains Kakas, emphasizing the versatility and efficiency of this groundbreaking technology.


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Functioning like a high-tech thermos, thermal batteries store heat in a liquid solution, such as bio-oil, and release it as needed to power heating and air conditioning systems within buildings. Kakas asserts that integrating thermal batteries alongside effective insulation and heat pumps could yield a substantial 25 percent reduction in energy consumption for cooling and heating purposes in commercial and industrial buildings.

"This can significantly help reduce the energy consumption of large buildings," Kakas says. "We can save about 25 percent of the energy consumption in cooling and heating in a building.”

Hungarians are turning to heating and air conditioning systems to reduce carbon emissions./
Hungarians are turning to heating and air conditioning systems to reduce carbon emissions./

Hungarians are turning to heating and air conditioning systems to reduce carbon emissions./

This shift spells the end for outdated heating systems as Europe gears up to phase them out from all commercial buildings within the next six years. Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, underscores the urgency of this transition, highlighting buildings as the largest energy consumers in Europe and emphasizing the need for decarbonization and energy efficiency.

"Buildings are the single largest energy consumers in Europe," said Simson. "We will not face the decarbonization, economic challenges, and energy supply dependencies if we don't tackle buildings.”

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, recently ratified by the European Parliament, lays down stringent guidelines aimed at enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings and curbing energy wastage. With buildings accounting for a staggering 36 percent of the EU's CO2 emissions and a majority suffering from energy inefficiency due to inadequate insulation and antiquated heating systems, the directive holds promise for a more sustainable future.

While Europe has witnessed a surge in interest in energy solutions amid recent energy crises, Gyorgy Kepka, a partner at Energy Hub, warns against complacency as energy prices stabilize. Kepka emphasizes the long-term benefits of energy-saving measures, asserting that they translate not only into cost savings for building owners but also into significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

"More and more companies have forgotten that there was an energy crisis," says Kepka. "Energy savings are greenhouse gas savings.”

In embracing greener heating and cooling options and prioritizing energy efficiency, Europe's construction industry is not only poised to save costs but also to pave the way for a more sustainable future. 

With thermal batteries leading the charge, the path to a carbon-neutral built environment appears within reach, heralding a new era of eco-friendly construction practices across the continent.

Are thermal batteries the future for heating big buildings?

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