Heat Pump-Powered Thermal Energy Storage

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Heat pump-powered thermal energy storage (TES) systems combine heat pumps with thermal energy storage technologies to store excess heat or cold for later use. This approach improves the efficiency and flexibility of heating and cooling systems, reduces peak demand, and enables the integration of renewable energy sources.

Impact on climate action

Heat Pump-Powered Thermal Energy Storage within the Heat Pumps theme advances climate action by optimizing energy use and reducing carbon emissions. By storing excess thermal energy during off-peak times and utilizing heat pumps for efficient heating and cooling, this innovation promotes renewable energy integration and decreases reliance on fossil fuels.


  • Heat Pumps: Heat pumps serve as the primary means of generating heat or cold, efficiently transferring thermal energy from a lower temperature source to a higher temperature sink.
  • Thermal Energy Storage (TES): TES technologies store thermal energy in various forms, such as sensible heat, latent heat, or thermochemical energy. Examples include water tanks, ice storage systems, and phase change materials (PCMs).
  • System Integration and Control: A sophisticated control system manages the operation of the heat pump and the TES system, optimizing energy flows and ensuring efficient charging and discharging of thermal energy.
  • Demand Response and Peak Shaving: Heat pump-powered TES systems can be used to shift energy consumption from peak demand periods to off-peak periods, reducing peak demand charges and improving grid stability.
  • Renewable Energy Integration: These systems can be integrated with renewable energy sources, such as solar PV or wind power, to store excess renewable energy and provide a reliable source of heating or cooling.

TRL : 6-7

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Advanced TES Technologies: Innovations in TES technologies, such as high-performance PCMs and thermochemical storage materials, are improving the energy density and efficiency of thermal energy storage.
  • Smart Control Systems: AI-powered control systems can optimize the operation of heat pump-powered TES systems, predicting energy demand and adjusting system parameters to maximize efficiency and comfort.
  • Integrated System Design: Companies are developing integrated heat pump-TES systems that combine all necessary components into a single, optimized package, simplifying installation and operation.
  • Building-Integrated TES: Thermal energy storage systems can be integrated into building structures, such as walls and floors, to provide thermal mass and improve building energy efficiency.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • High-Density Thermal Energy Storage
  • AI-Driven Dynamic Energy Management
  • Integrated Hybrid Heat Pump Solutions
  • Sustainable Urban Heating/Cooling Infrastructure
  • Renewable Energy-Driven TES Synchronization
  • Advanced Phase Change Material Development
  • Grid-Interactive Building Systems
  • Industrial Process Heat Efficiency Solutions
  • Decentralized TES Network Establishment
  • Indoor Comfort Enhancement with TES
  • Retrofit Solutions for Existing Buildings
  • Waste Heat Recycling Technologies
  • Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage Solutions
  • Microgrid Resilience Enhancement
  • Portable Thermal Energy Storage Systems

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. Sunamp:
    • Technology Enhancement: Sunamp specializes in advanced heat storage solutions using phase change materials (PCMs) and heat pumps. Their systems store thermal energy generated by heat pumps during off-peak periods and release it on demand for heating, hot water, and other applications. Sunamp’s technology offers high energy density, fast response times, and long-term thermal storage capabilities.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Sunamp stands out for its innovative use of phase change materials in heat storage applications. Their systems provide compact and efficient thermal energy storage solutions suitable for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Sunamp’s technology enables energy savings, carbon emission reductions, and improved heating comfort for end-users.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Sunamp serves homeowners, building developers, social housing providers, and renewable energy installers seeking energy-efficient heating and hot water solutions. Their heat pump-powered thermal energy storage systems are deployed in various settings, including residential properties, commercial buildings, and community energy projects.
  2. CALMAC:
    • Technology Enhancement: CALMAC specializes in thermal energy storage systems for commercial and industrial applications. Their systems use heat pumps to transfer thermal energy to and from ice or chilled water storage tanks during off-peak periods. This stored energy is then utilized for space cooling, air conditioning, and process cooling, reducing energy costs and peak demand.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: CALMAC is known for its expertise in large-scale thermal energy storage solutions for commercial buildings, campuses, and district energy systems. Their ice-based storage technology offers efficient and reliable cooling solutions, allowing customers to shift energy consumption to off-peak hours and optimize HVAC system performance.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: CALMAC serves building owners, facility managers, utilities, and energy service companies seeking energy-efficient cooling solutions. Their thermal energy storage systems are deployed in commercial buildings, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and data centers, enabling cost savings, grid stability, and sustainability.
  3. 1414 Degrees:
    • Technology Enhancement: 1414 Degrees specializes in thermal energy storage systems based on molten silicon technology. Their systems use electric resistance heating and heat pumps to heat silicon to high temperatures, storing thermal energy for later use in electricity generation, industrial processes, and district heating. This innovative technology offers high energy density and long-duration storage capabilities.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: 1414 Degrees stands out for its novel approach to thermal energy storage using molten silicon as a storage medium. Their technology enables large-scale, long-duration energy storage solutions suitable for grid-scale applications, industrial processes, and renewable energy integration. 1414 Degrees’ systems offer high efficiency, scalability, and flexibility in energy storage.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: 1414 Degrees targets utilities, industrial companies, and renewable energy developers seeking large-scale energy storage solutions. Their molten silicon thermal storage systems are deployed in grid-scale energy storage projects, industrial facilities, and renewable energy hubs, providing grid stability, energy resilience, and decarbonization benefits.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is at the forefront of research on Heat Pump-Powered Thermal Energy Storage, focusing on developing advanced heat pump systems integrated with thermal energy storage technologies for efficient heating, cooling, and thermal management in buildings and industrial processes.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the design and optimization of heat pumps capable of utilizing thermal energy storage materials, such as phase change materials (PCMs) or thermal batteries, to store excess heat or cold generated during off-peak hours and release it when needed, thereby enhancing system flexibility, resilience, and energy efficiency.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. By leveraging heat pump-powered thermal energy storage, MIT’s research enables demand-side management, load shifting, and renewable energy integration, contributing to grid stability, energy cost savings, and carbon emissions reduction.
  2. Stanford University:
    • Research Focus: Stanford University conducts innovative research on Heat Pump-Powered Thermal Energy Storage, leveraging its expertise in thermodynamics, materials science, and building energy systems to develop novel approaches for storing and utilizing thermal energy in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of advanced heat pump architectures, heat exchanger designs, and thermal storage media tailored to specific applications and environmental conditions. They also explore control strategies, optimization algorithms, and system integration techniques to maximize energy savings and comfort while minimizing environmental impact.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in residential and commercial buildings, district heating and cooling networks, and industrial processes. By advancing heat pump-powered thermal energy storage technologies, Stanford’s research supports the transition to low-carbon heating and cooling solutions, improves energy resilience, and enhances occupant comfort and well-being.
  3. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
    • Research Focus: NREL is a leader in research on Heat Pump-Powered Thermal Energy Storage, leveraging its state-of-the-art facilities and expertise in renewable energy systems to develop and demonstrate innovative heat pump technologies integrated with thermal energy storage for various applications and climates.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses experimental testing, modeling, and simulation of heat pump systems and thermal energy storage components under different operating conditions and load profiles. They also collaborate with industry partners to pilot and validate novel concepts, materials, and control strategies for improving system performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, as well as in grid-interactive buildings and microgrid applications. By providing technical insights and validation data, NREL’s research accelerates the commercialization and deployment of heat pump-powered thermal energy storage solutions, contributing to energy security, environmental sustainability, and economic growth.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Heat pump-powered TES systems are being implemented in various residential, commercial, and industrial applications. For example, some supermarkets and cold storage facilities are using ice-based thermal energy storage systems to reduce peak demand charges and improve energy efficiency.