Muspell Project Consortium is Awarded 3.5M euros EU Grant To Pioneer Next-Gen Thermal Energy Storage System

Sep 21, 2023

The group of characterization of Materials of the Department of Physics participates in the project. 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 comprising of Swisspod Technologies, EURAC Research, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, the National Institute of Chemistry in Slovenia, the Politecnico di Milano and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya has received a €3.5M Pathfinder grant by the European Innovation Council (EIC). The funding will drive the development of the Muspell project, a novel, state-of-the-art Thermal Energy Storage System (TESS) — an important component of a sustainable and reliable energy system. The project will commence in October 2023 and is set to span a duration of 4 years.

The Muspell project aims to introduce to the market a more efficient mid-to-long term TESS, transcending the limitations of current available systems. 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.

A TESS allows for efficient storage and usage of thermal energy, providing flexibility, energy management, cost savings, as well as environmental benefits as it can integrate renewable energy sources. 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.

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 TESS will also serve as a cutting-edge thermal battery, enabling the efficient capture, storage, and usage of waste heat generated during industrial processes. Thus, the system not only curtails energy waste, but also mitigates the environmental impact associated with greenhouse gas emissions.

This is particularly important for sectors with significant energy requirements, such as the food and beverage or textile sectors, wherein a substantial amount of energy is released as waste heat. These industries require precise temperature control, are experiencing fluctuating energy demands, and need flexibility in managing thermal energy across a diverse range of processes. The proposed solution can provide a more flexible and efficient TESS that will benefit these sectors.