CERTH: Technology innovation in MiniStor

CERTH: Technology innovation in MiniStor

MiniStor is an innovative system for the sustainable production and storage of heating, cooling and electricity. It is solar driven and utilises a combination of thermochemical (TCM) and phase change materials (PCM) for thermal energy storage (TES). This configuration enables the achievement of considerably higher energy storage density compared to competitive TES systems; i.e. almost 10 times the energy density of water, which is usually used in sensible heat storage systems. Also, batteries are used for storing electrical energy. 

the starting point of ministor system evaluation

Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) is one of the key partners of MiniStor consortium, participating with two of its constituting Institutes, namely CERTH / CPERI and CERTH / ITI. The MiniStor system will be first assembled and tested in CERTH premises in Thessaloniki, Greece. Specifically, it will be evaluated on providing heating and cooling to CERTH/ITI Smart Home, the first Smart near-Zero Energy Building in Greece, which operates as a rapid prototyping & novel technologies demonstration infrastructure resembling a real domestic building. It combines enhanced construction materials and intelligent ICT solutions creating a future-proof, sustainable and active testing, validating and evaluating ecosystem.

LEADING the overall system engeneering and prototyping

Apart from testing and demonstration activities, CERTH is leading the activities of WP3. Among others it is responsible for providing an initial dimensioning of the system main components for the pre-pilot and the four demonstration sites. This was achieved by developing an integrated thermodynamic model capable of performing dynamic calculations, which combines commercial simulation software specialized for chemical processes modelling (Aspen Plus Dynamics) with in-house built routines developed in MATLAB. The integration of two software is performed in Simulink environment. The main results of this activity will be subject of scientific publications.

Overview of the integrated thermodynamic model in SIMULINK
Integrating environmental and users’ needs

CERTH will also perform the environmental and life-cycle assessment of the system using a special footprint impact tool.  Moreover, other major tasks are the involvement in the development of MiniStor Smart Home Energy Management System  (HEMS) along with the development of an  AR/VR application that will facilitate the system’s installation. This mobile phone application will provide instructions with 3D animations on an augmented or virtual reality environment in combination with other helpful material for an easier and faster installation procedure for the MiniStor system components.

Screenshots of the User Interface of the AR/VR installation training application

Additionally, CERTH is the leader and main developer of the IoT platform, which allows for efficient and intuitive monitoring and controlling of the system. With such platform, user experience will be enhanced, and the energy management system will be able to optimize system’s usage. Rigorous testing of the system components as well as continuous evaluation of the user interface based on user requirements will secure the seamless function of the system as a whole and corroborate its logical and intuitive operation.

Screenshots of the User Interface of the IoT platform

Scientific responsible persons for CERTH activities in MiniStor are Dr. Dimitrios Tzovaras, Dr. Dimosthenis Ioannidis and Dr. Nikolaos Nikolopoulos, while the latter also leads the project Scientific and Technical Committee (STC).