Definition - What does Thermal Energy Storage (TES) mean?
Thermal energy storage (TES) refers to the technology that allows the transfer and storage of heat energy or, alternatively, energy from ice or cold air or water. This method is built into new technologies that complement energy solutions such as solar and hydro.
Some thermal energy storage methods allow for daily use, for example, using off-peak nighttime energy to create hot or cold storage that is used to power systems throughout the day. Other systems are more long-term, such as systems that store solar energy in the summer for use in the winter.
The idea behind TES is changing the way users generate the vast amount of heating and cooling capacity that eats up so much conventional energy from the grid. The problem is that much of the grid power used for heating and cooling buildings is generated by energy from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. This can be addressed using TES, which can provide heating and cooling solutions simply by evening out the distributed heat in a natural landscape or cycle, for example, by applying heat stored in solar collectors or by distributing cold water or air from underground to cool a building space. Scientists and engineers are hard at work on new thermal energy storage solutions to replace fossil fuel-driven HVAC systems.