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Thermal stores are becoming increasingly popular within domestic renewable heating technologies as a means of being able to store excess heat that is generated. This renewable heating technology is not always used alone. Often it can be seen with a combination of conventional boilers or immersion heaters.
A thermal store is a way of being able to store and manage renewable heat until it is needed. In domestic settings, heated water tends to be stored within a large well-insulated cylinder, commonly known as a buffer or accumulator tank. Thermal stores sometimes include one or more heat exchangers, which are usually in the form of internal coiled pipes or external flat-plate heat exchangers. They can also contain an electrical heating element, for example an immersion heater. Thermal stores have proved to be very efficient and work best with wood-fuelled biomass boilers, heat pumps, wind energy and solar water heating systems. Thermal stores can also provide space heating, in the case of a heat pump system and also hot water, in the case of a solar water heating system. When a thermal store reaches its full potential it is able to store and manage several different heat inputs and outputs.
There are many benefits to thermal stores, one being that it allows you to manage the difference in time between when heat is accessible and when it is actually needed. For instance, if the hot water was produced by a solar water heating system during the day then it can be stored for use until there is little or no solar energy available. Thermal stores also allow water to be heated by a secondary heating source, like a conventional boiler or electric immersion heater. They also allow renewable heating systems to work more economically. Thermal stores allow heating systems like log boilers work more efficiently. Another benefit to thermal stores is that they allow for you to use wood burning boiling stoves or stoves which have a back boiler at maximum efficiency without having to overheat the room. Thermal stores also reduce the need to buy any expensive fossil fuels in order to meet on-demand hot water or space heating.
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