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AUD2m funding for renewable energy trials

AUSTRALIA: A system integrating thermal energy storage with renewable energy for HVACR applications has received AUD2m (€1.22m) in funding from the Australian government.

The innovative new cooling technology developed in South Australia by Glaciem Cooling Technologies will be trialled at food, agriculture and tourism businesses to help reduce their energy costs and emissions from heating and cooling.

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced AUD2m in funding to Glaciem Cooling Technologies Pty Ltd (Glaciem) to demonstrate the technical and economic value of integrating thermal energy storage with renewable energy into Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R) applications.

Glaciem Cooling and the University of South Australia have developed new phase change materials capable of achieving lower freezing temperatures and a thermal storage system that efficiently stores thermal energy and then releases that energy when required. Thermal energy storage allow refrigeration plants to run and store energy during off peak times at cheaper electricity rates, and then to release energy during peak periods, minimising running costs. The system can be retrofitted into a current medium temperature refrigeration systems or included in designs for new installations. 

As well as benefiting from the use of natural refrigerants, Glaciem’s technology also uses an advanced control and forecasting system to optimise the system’s operation based on weather forecasts, electricity price forecasts, and customer demand forecasts to optimise the storage system to maximise customer savings.

The AUD4.95m (€3m) project will build on the outcomes of previous research by the government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and demonstrate Glaciem’s system at three different customer sites:

Ceravolo Orchards in Oakbank, South Australia will install Glaciem’s system with on-site solar PV generation to manage peak demand and optimise the storage and use of renewable energy in a cold storage system.

Pernod Ricard Winemakers in the Barossa Valley, South Australia will install Glaciem’s system with on-site solar PV generation to reduce exposure to peak electricity costs for process cooling.

Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville, Queensland will expand the existing solar PV capacity at the site and integrate this with Glaciem’s technology to optimise the air conditioning and water cooling load at the site.

“These pilot sites trialling Glaciem’s technology will demonstrate that refrigeration equipment, grid supply and on-site renewable energy generation can be reliably integrated across a range of commercial businesses,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller. 

Glaciem MD Julian Hudson said: “The project aims to commercialise previous research funded by ARENA and will demonstrate that there are real viable alternatives for end users of HVAC&R that drastically reduce operating costs, maximise the economic potential of renewable energy assets and reduce direct and indirect CO2 emissions.”

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