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Storing thermal energy with vacuum and volcanic rock technology


Perlite powder in storage tank wall reduces heat losses

To increase the proportion of heat supply covered by solar thermal energy, greater efficiency is called for in storage tank technology. The BINE Projektinfo brochure “Vacuum tank stores heat” (14/2014) details the development of a storage tank with an enclosure that exhibits very low thermal conductivity. A vacuum between the inner and outer tank and a perlite powder filling in the cavity facilitate favourable insulating values.

Full-size prototype: The vacuum super-insulated storage tank has a volumetric capacity of 6.5 cubic metres. © ZAE Bayern

The vacuum super-insulated hot water storage tank can store thermal energy over several weeks or months. The technology allows high solar shares of fraction in existing small and medium-sized buildings compliant with the low-energy house standard. The long-term heat storage tank is already used in several single-family homes and apartment buildings.

Minimising heat transfer between the inner and outer tanks produced from steel was the objective of the research project. To do so, the researchers created a vacuum in the annular cavity using simple pump technology. This made it possible to effectively inhibit air heat transfer. Thermal radiation, however, still occurs in vacuums. To reduce this effect, the researchers poured the poorly thermally conducting volcanic rock perlite into the cavity.

The vacuum super insulated hot water storage tank has been developed by Bayerisches Zentrum für Angewandte Energieforschung (ZAE Bayern) in cooperation with steel and metal engineering company Hummelsberger from Upper Bavaria.

For further informations about the BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Vacuum tank stores heat” (14/2014) follow this link:

Press contact
Uwe Milles

About BINE Information Service

Energy research for practical applications

The BINE Information Service reports on energy research topics, such as new materials, systems and components, as well as innovative concepts and methods. The knowledge gained is incorporated into the implementation of new technologies in practice, because first-rate information provides a basis for pioneering decisions, whether in the planning of energy-optimised buildings, increasing the efficiency of industrial processes, or integrating renewable energy sources into existing systems.

About FIZ Karlsruhe

FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure is a not-for-profit organization with the public mission to make sci-tech information from all over the world publicly available and to provide related services in order to support the national and international transfer of knowledge and the promotion of innovation.
Our business areas:
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FIZ Karlsruhe is a member of the Leibniz Association (WGL) which consists of 87 German research and infrastructure institutions.

Weitere Informationen:  - BINE Informationsdienst english

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