Could Your Home Be Warmed With Night-Time Wind Power?
A Thermal Electric Storage Heater can store a tremendous amount of electricity, in the form of heat, for up to 24 hours, so it is perfect for running on cheap night time off-peak electricity.
When you want to warm up your house you flip a switch and it starts to release slow-release heat stored in very dense ceramic bricks. Because you can set it to use electricity at night at low night time rates, it is the cheapest form of heating.
The way that this kind of heater works is that electricity heats coils that radiate heat to extremely dense adjacent ceramic bricks that store the heat in a supercharged thermal mass. Once they reach their maximum core temperature, they won’t charge anymore. At that point, the heaters’ controls won’t accept more power from the grid.
But, now that we are all trying to lower our carbon footprints, some groups are looking at a new use for this ability to store night time power. Why? In much of the world, wind blows more at night.
Cheap night time coal power is increasingly being displaced by cheap (or even sometimes actually free!) night time wind power. Excess wind power on the grid at night is such a problem that utilities sometimes have had to shut down wind farms at night because because there’s been nowhere to send the electricity. Till now.
The researchers will add smart grid technology to these Steffes Thermal Electric Storage heaters, to be able to turn them on or off from a remote location, based on wind generator output, grid demand, and the spot price of power, that fluctuates with the demand on the grid. This could be the future of renewable energy storage: distributed energy storage.
Each heater can store enough electricity to heat the interior up to 1,200 degreesÂ F.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Of course, nobody wants a raging hot house at 3 AM in the wee hours while the wind is howling outside. That doesn’t happen. Space-age insulation keeps the exterior from heating above 160 degrees F, and enough is stored inside the units to provide 24 hours of gradual warmth on demand.
What a perfect way to store a half hour’s worth of 3 AM gale-force gusts of wind energy. Turn it into long languidly toasty mornings…Â And afternoons…Â And evenings…