02 October 23

New project Muspell

New project coordinated by Eurac Research on Next-Generation Thermal Energy Storage System

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The Muspell project's goal is to develop an innovative energy management solution that will yield substantial advantages across diverse industries and sectors, paving the way to a more sustainable future.

The consortium is coordinated by Eurac Research and consists of the 5 scientific partners: Swisspod Technologies, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, the National Institute of Chemistry in Slovenia, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and the Politecnico di Milano.

The fundings - €3.5M Pathfinder grant by the European Innovation Council (EIC) - will drive the development of the Muspell project, a novel, state-of-the-art Thermal Energy Storage System (TESS). The project will start in October 2023 and is going to last 4 years.

This grant is more than an investment in technology; it symbolizes a shared vision for sustainability. Being selected for the EIC Pathfinder Challenges programme brings a great recognition upon the potential of the solution we are proposing and its transformative impact on creating a more sustainable and energy-efficient future. At Swisspod, our mission is to build a better tomorrow through innovation, and we couldn't be more grateful to embark on this journey alongside a group of brilliant research and academic visionaries who share this same outlook", says Vlad Iorgulescu, Swisspod’s COO, and one of the initiators of the Muspell pProject.

By adopting an innovative approach grounded in material research, the consortium sets out to engineer a compact, highly flexible and modular system that offers increased energy density and seamless integration of heat-pump capabilities. The novel TESS will unlock new avenues of application across energy-intensive industries — from manufacturing, textile, food processing, and construction materials, to transportation, energy and environmental services industries.

The operation of this system involves receiving thermal energy input from various sources like waste/excess heat, solar thermal collectors, electricity, and storing it in a suitable medium, such as a thermo-chemical or a phase-change material. When the stored energy is needed, the TESS transfers it to the desired application at the required temperature level.

Eurac Research, coordinator of the project, draws upon its extensive experience as a coordinator and partner in 90 ongoing projects, supported by diverse European Union programs. Eurac Research technical goal lies in modeling the TESS utilization within industrial processes and the broader energy system.

Scientific, Societal, And Economic Impact of the project

This groundbreaking initiative aligns with multiple sustainable development goals, facilitating access to clean energy while simultaneously mitigating the carbon footprint associated with various industries. By emphasizing material development and optimization, as well as system level innovation, the project is committed to achieving high performance while minimizing environmental impact to the greatest extent possible.

The novel Thermal Energy Storage System will also serve as a cutting-edge thermal battery, enabling the efficient capture, long-term storage, and usage of waste heat generated during industrial processes.

The potential for broader applications extends into the transportation sector, particularly in the hyperloop technology development, where Swisspod holds a prominent position. This solution can effectively address a myriad of challenges associated with thermal management. The complexity it solves revolves around the significant amount of waste heat generated during operations, the need for a lightweight system to capture this waste energy, and the intricate process of storing and transferring thermal energy within the low-pressure environment of the hyperloop tubes.

Thermal energy storage systems will have an important role in managing a high penetration of discontinuous renewable energy sources in the European energy system. Understanding and planning the utilization of such systems in relevant applications in industry and tertiary sectors is fundamental to guide market exploitation and policies strategic orientation” says Roberto Fedrizzi, Coordinator of the research group on Sustainable Heating and Cooling Systems at Eurac Research.

The kick off event of the project will take place at NOI Techpark in Bolzano the next 11 and 12 October.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No 101114987.

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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