High-performance ultra-low-carbon Geopolymer heat Battery for thermochemical energy storage in net-zero buildings (GeoBattery)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Architecture and Civil Engineering


Space heating currently accounts for 25% of the UK's energy consumption and 17% of its carbon emissions. The effective and efficient recovery, storage, and reuse of waste heat, together with renewable energy, play indispensable roles in decarbonisation of heating in buildings. The thermochemical energy storage materials possess the highest volumetric energy density comparing to phase change and sensible heat storage materials. However, the design and manufacture of thermochemical energy storage materials are still facing the challenges of high cost, low sustainability, and limited heating power. There also lacks fundamental understandings of the properties of materials that control the cyclic energy storage performances and structural stabilities. These have brought significant challenges to optimisation and implementation of the thermochemical energy storage techniques for domestic application.

This project adopts novel research approaches for civil engineering materials to tackle these standing challenges faced by developing thermochemical energy storage materials. Versatile high-performance heat battery materials will be developed from sustainable low-cost civil engineering material geopolymers. Lightweight geopolymer composite materials with enhanced heat and mass transport properties and thermochemical energy storage capacity will be developed through green synthesis routes. The first structural stability assessment model for predicting the service cycle life of heat battery materials will be proposed from the extended chemo-mechanical salt damage model for inorganic porous building materials. The materials fabrication technology and fundamental understanding of the degradation mechanism developed in this project will be transferable to versatile "salt-in-matrix" TCES composites. The outcomes developed from this project will drastically improve the sustainability and resilience of thermal energy storage technologies, for decarbonisation of heating in existing and new-built buildings.


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Description Collaboration with Prof. Antonio Caggiano from Università degli Studi di Genova (Itlay) 
Organisation University of Genoa
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developed research collaboration with Prof. Antonio Caggiano from Università degli Studi di Genova (Itlay) through the research activity in the RILEM TC-TES technical committee, where Prof. Antonio Caggiano is the committee chair. A joint travel grant proposal has been submitted to the Royal Society International Exchange scheme (submitted 8th March 2023) worth £11,900 (IES\R1\231229) aiming to enable sustained staff exchange in the next two years.
Collaborator Contribution Contributed to the preparation and submission of a joint travel grant proposal (IES\R1\231229).
Impact This is a newly established collaboration, and the planned outputs are: - Fundings for staff exchange (a Royal Society travel grant application has been submitted). - Joint research papers combining experimental research with numerical modelings.
Start Year 2023
Description Application to Engage Grants 2023 for Science and Engineering & Design (internal funding) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact An application to the University of Bath's internal Engage Grants 2023 for Science and Engineering & Design has been prepared and submitted by the postdoctoral researcher hired by this project aiming to improve the awareness and knowledge of local school students and the general public about the importance and benefit of domestic thermal energy storage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
Description Workshop in Genova: Net Zero Carbon Buildings (Dec-2022) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A two days workshop in Genova hosted by Prof. Antonio Caggiano.
- First day, full-day research presentations (online+in-person) given by international researchers, on thermal energy storage materials including both experimental methods and modeling techniques.
- Half day 5th RILEM TC TES research committee meeting, discuss the progress and targets of the planned state-of-the-art book chapter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022