Renewables Now is publishing the ENERGY INNOVATOR column with the support of EIT InnoEnergy, the European sustainable energy accelerator. Our third blitz interview is with Ecovat, the company behind the patented thermal energy storage solution.
May 8 (Renewables Now) - The shift to renewable energy means the grid needs more flexibility. Ecovat is designed to offer flexible heating and cooling requirements within built-up areas – both residential and businesses – through seasonal storage. Aris de Groot, managing director and owner at Ecovat, tells us more.
What is your product/solution?
Ecovat provides a unique, patented in the EU and US, technically-proven solution for underground thermal energy storage of instantly usable heat, with no impact on the surrounding environment. Direct inlet and outlet on different levels allow you to extract or add heat to the vessel. An Ecovat can be built for large- and small-scale district heating and cooling. The number of houses (or housing equivalents) per Ecovat may vary between 750 and 8,000 depending on the size of the tank and the length of the storage period.
Groundwater can be stored at a maximum of 95 degrees for up to six months, with an energy loss of less than 10%. Simultaneously, cold water can be stored for cooling in summer as well.
Sustainable heat for the Ecovat can come from local heat sources such as geothermal energy, residual heat and solar collectors, or be generated locally with heat pumps in combination with electric boilers.
Who are your clients?
District heating and cooling networks in city spaces, either newly constructed or local authority-led community renovation projects, are ideal targets for Ecovat.
Ecovat offers a fully operational solution for energy management in built up areas, consisting of:
- Production and construction of hardware (a vessel, solar panels, heat convertors and connection to the infrastructure)
- Project financing for a period of 30 years
- Smart demand management software
What are your priorities and goals for 2020?
Ecovat is expecting to realise its first commercial-scale (1:1) project in 2021, called “Mijnwater”. It is expected to be sold to an individual buyer -- Mijnwater BV. This commercial-sized Ecovat will hold 20,000 cubic meters of heated water. It will be connected to an industrial waste heat source and to the existing Mijnwater 5G heat network. It will heat 2,000 extra homes belonging to three housing corporations.
In 2020 Ecovat is also looking for additional equity investment to finance the assets on the company's own balance sheet.
What is EIT InnoEnergy’s role?
EIT InnoEnergy provided Ecovat with equity investments in 2013 and 2016, but they are much more than an investor and have become a trusted partner and advisor for our long-term growth. Currently, EIT InnoEnergy’s Business Creation Officer has a seat in the Ecovat supervisory board and provides the company with guidance and advice, as well as connecting us with their global network, enabling us to expand significantly across Europe and beyond.