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The Quantum thermal energy storage system developed by Glen Dimplex offers uses greatly improved levels of energy efficiency and comfort control and addresses some of the key challenges presented to electricity utilities by increasingly high levels of renewable generation as an alternative to fossil fuels.
“The Quantum started out as a heater and has become a system,” says Muiris Flynn, technical director with Glen Dimplex Heating. “The idea has grown and developed and evolved as we have engaged with the utilities.”
At the heart of the system is the Quantum space heater, a new generation storage heater with capabilities unlike anything available up to now. It has been designed to fully decouple the delivery of the energy by the utility company from the use of that energy by the end consumer.
The very latest materials, electronic controls and communications technologies have been applied to develop a product that is revolutionary in both the heating and electricity industries.
The ability of the Quantum heater to take in energy at any time of the day or night and release it whenever needed allows it to take electricity from the grid whenever there is excess available and not just at night.
This has a particularly application for a utility which is relying increasingly on intermittent renewable sources such as wind. Sometimes there’s too much wind and other times there’s too little.
The Quantum allows the excess wind power to be taken up while also lessening the load on the grid at peak times and when there might be insufficient wind power available.
The system does this through a direct connection to the grid operator which enables the electricity industry to remotely and dynamically switch on and off the charging circuit according to generation and network constraints.
This means that Quantum storage heaters can be aggregated and managed to effectively become a dispersed energy store. This gives the industry an important tool that can help them to match demand to suit variable renewable generation sources.
And user benefits are considerable as well, with laboratory tests suggesting energy savings of up to 20 per cent and cost efficiencies of up to 25 per cent when compared to older systems.
Quantum has been installed in 143 homes as part of the Greenway project in Dublin and results so far have been very positive. Projects are also ongoing in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Canada, and interest has been expressed in the system by power utilities across the world.
“We launched the Quantum system on the market back in October and we have been struggling to keep pace with demand since,” says Flynn.
“We are now ramping up production at our facility in Northern Ireland to meet demand which we anticipate could be up to 200,000 units annually in the UK and Ireland alone.”