Tepeo are electrifying heat for a greener future
10th May 2019
In short, Tepeo is creating a stored-heat solution – they call it a heat battery. They are combining concepts from old night-storage heaters (a box of bricks that gets heated off-peak and releases heat through the day) with some clever thermodynamic tricks, new materials and power electronics into something that can replace a gas combi boiler.
Like a night-storage heater, it uses off-peak (or low Agile price) energy to charge up with heat. With an embedded heat-exchanger included in the unit, it pumps hot water round the existing radiators according to the homeowner’s thermostat control and schedule and provides hot water. So if there’s room for the unit to fit where your gas boiler is at the moment, it can be installed in its place and plumbed straight into your existing radiator system – it’s the size of a washing machine:
Here's Tepeo founder Johan du Plessis with the kit
We often refer to the practice of replacing a gas boiler with an electric system as the Electrification of Heat. It’s something we need to support in the drive towards a greener future, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. There are alternatives such as air-source and ground-source heat pumps. We’re getting to know these too, although sometimes these require changes to the radiator pipework and rarely support hot water supply too as they work at a lower temperature.
Tepeo’s system has their own proprietary heat-storage material inside (I’ve not even been allowed to look inside the prototype unit) and is super-insulated. It stores about 40kWh of usable heat and reaches as much as 800°C inside but is only just warm to the touch on the outside. This level of internal heat and their own heat-exchanger design solves the problem with old-style night storage heaters where there’s just a flap that opens and closes. Crucially the large storage capacity of these units can be aggregated across many homes and provide enormous flexibility to the energy system, supporting greater renewables integration by providing grid balancing services.
The Tepeo team are also experimenting with the Agile tariff to take advantage of low energy costs throughout the day (so no dependency on Economy 7) to charge the heat-storage. We’re pleased to be supporting them on this. They’re coming out of stealth mode now and planning to run research trials in customers’ homes towards the end of the year.
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