Thermal Energy Consulting
Thermal Energy Consulting, or TEC for short, is a customizable solution we offer to decarbonize and improve grid resiliency while reducing energy costs for utilities and their customers. Our cost-effective solutions integrate commercial heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration system loads (thermal energy) with the electricity grid and natural gas pipeline supplies. This integration maximizes system efficiency and productivity while shaping, shedding, or shifting loads to align with renewable energy supply and pipeline capacity.
In simpler terms, we ensure that thermal energy is generated, stored, and consumed at optimal times to reduce costs, minimize waste, and maximize energy efficiency.
Why Do We Need This?
Simply put, grid reliability is declining and we can’t afford to keep doing things the same way.
- Extreme weather conditions result in high electric loads and supply disruptions.
- The infamous duck curve that started in California has made its way to Arizona and is heading everywhere that solar generation will be built (in other words – everywhere).
- Storing electricity, e.g. batteries, is very expensive because the materials to build them are rare and resource-intensive, and supply chains can be disrupted for geopolitical reasons.
There’s a Better Way
That better way is spelled TES, for Thermal Energy Storage.
TES, primarily with phase change materials, offers a less expensive, more reliable, zero-loss, safer, simpler, and locally-sourced alternative to electric batteries. TES systems can be cycled daily for arbitrage savings and consistent peak load reduction.
Through Thermal Energy Consulting, we can customize a TES solution that works best for your facility.
• Commercial and Industrial Cold Storage
• Chilled Water Systems
• Data Centers
Thermal Energy Storage Benefits
How Does TES Work?
Thermal energy includes sensible (temperature) and latent (phase change) heat transfer storage. Phase changes include boiling water or refrigerants from liquid to vapor, and condensing vapors back to liquids. Phase changes also include releasing heat to freeze liquids, known as phase change materials (PCMs), from liquid to solid and then absorbing heat to melt back to liquids. These phase changes release and absorb heat at a constant temperature.
The video demonstrates this process through a fun PCM experiment, conducted by our CEO – Jeff Ihnen.
TES – 65 GW of DERs Ready for Deployment
At the end of 2022, there was 11 GW of grid-connected electric batteries in the U.S. The peak load is about 700 GW. About 10% of that peak load, or 65 GW, is commercial and industrial refrigeration and chilled water systems. This is a huge slice of untapped distributed energy resources for grid resilience and efficiency!
In our recent publication in the AESP Energy Intel Magazine, we explore how Thermal Energy Storage can solve this shortage while building a more resilience and efficient grid.
Golden Opportunities with Efficiency, Demand Response, & Electrification
The challenges of decarbonization are making low prices accessible to all customers and maintaining reliability and grid resilience. There are many mitigation strategies to minimize the frequent and large gaps between available supply and load.
In this paper, we explore strategies to shrink the gaps between available supply and load, including efficiency, thermal energy storage, building design, waste reduction, and demand response. A summary of the results and next steps are provided at the end.
Looking for a partner to help with your energy programs?
WE’D LOVE TO HELP.
Michaels Energy has been using our passion for all-things-energy to help building owners, utilities, consultants and partners save energy and design high performing systems, processes and programs since 1984. Energy efficiency, resource preservation, and long-term cost effectiveness are an integral part of everything we do.