The missing link for mass uptake of residential Solar PV
Problem to be solved
For the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the price index for oil, gas and their overall average has more than doubled in just 10 years with spikes of more than tripling.
Fluctuations in electricity prices in the EU-28 are less explicit than fluctuations in primary fossil fuels according to Eurostat, but an upward trend in consumer electricity prices is also evident. Even during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 there was only a status quo in electricity prices, no downward trend. Eurostat indicates a rising trend in gas prices in EU-28, with gas prices (rise at 10% per year) fluctuating more than electricity prices (rise at 5% per year).
The construction of the energy market today and the (central) way energy is generated and distributed makes families and businesses very dependent on those fossil energy sources, the energy suppliers and the distribution network. The impact on their budgets is increasing and unpredictable.
The large part of the answer today lies in the alternative energies such as Solar PV, wind and biomass. They can provide for sustainable energy sources. Except for the initial investment they are free. The problem is that these energy sources are intermittent, unpredictable and therefore hard to manage. This is a major drawback in the development of renewable energies as a backbone of the energy mix.
Insufficient ability to compensate for fluctuations is not a far-into-the-future scenario. Already today, there are periods in which feed-in from renewable energy sources is higher than off-peak electricity demand in some regions (e.g. Denmark and Germany).
To answer all of these challenges, a new product has been developed under the leadership of Dr. Hugo Vandenborre. It has a tradename Solenco Powerbox™ (Solar Energy Conversion Powerbox™ ).
The Solenco Powerbox™ (SPB™) is an energy storage device and functions as part of an integrated solution. This solution is the full chain of renewable energy production, energy storage and energy consumption through electricity and heat in the residential environment. This solution provides energy autonomy and grid independence for its user. It’s the practical application of decentralized power production.
The SPB™ is an energy storage system based on hydrogen technology. It is charged by electrical power from a renewable source (Solar PV) and returns both heat and electrical power.
It is the missing link between residential needs and the given solar system. It allows to store energy when available and use when needed.
How it Works
Solar panels function as the sole source of energy. The SPB™ can work both on-grid and off-grid, hence, there is no strict need for a grid connection. There is no need for a natural gas network connection either as is in the case of competing solutions.
Electricity needs are covered by the solar panels during day time and only the surplus is sent to the SPB™ to be stored as hydrogen.
When there’s no sunshine, electricity and heat are produced by the SPB™ from the stored hydrogen, together at 95% efficiency.
It can function to cover the hot water needs for heating and sanitation. If production of heat would be higher than requested, heat will be stored in a hot water tank. In case the requested heat, is higher than the production. extra heat will be produced through a catalytic burner. The latter is a high efficiency (97%) burner with no flame, using hydrogen as energy source.
The whole system has a CO2 production of 0 gram. The product is therefore triple- zero-carbon: since neither the Production, Distribution, nor Usage introduces greenhouse gases.
The product is currently at Technology Readiness Level 7, with the product both validated and demonstrated in a relevant environment.