UBC Graduate Research

UBC Academic District Energy System : Thermal Energy Storage Owen, Carlie; Lau, Karen


This report aims to investigate thermal storage alternatives for the University of British Columbia (UBC) to explore in its journey to carbon neutrality by 2050. The thermal storage system will ideally reduce peak thermal energy requirements from the UBC district heating system during start-ups in the cold months of the year, thereby flattening overall energy usage. District heating systems have evolved over the years resulting in four distinct generations of systems; UBC is categorized as second generation as it is operating at above 100°C, though the infrastructure is set up to operate as a third generation system. Multiple categories of thermal energy storage (TES) were researched: storage as sensible, latent or thermo-chemical heat; long-term and short-term storage; and centralized or distributed. The most viable option for UBC at this time is a sensible thermal energy storage system that uses large thermal storage tanks to store energy, thus relieving the strains on the current system during peak hours. The first step towards utilizing thermal energy storage in a cost effective manner is to shift the district heating system to operate at below 100°C, and to accommodate for the use of an atmospheric thermal storage system. Large capacity, atmospheric thermal storage tanks were used for other University District Heating Systems, and provides an opportunity to be charged by a future campus renewable energy source. UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Sustainability ProgramStudent Research ReportDecarbonizing UBC’s District Energy System: District Energy Heat Pump TechnologyThivya Viswanathan University of British Columbia APPP 506 Themes: Buildings, Energy, Water Date: Dec 31, 2019 Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS Sustainability Program provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student research project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore, readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Sustainability Program representative about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.

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