A modern remix of old technologies that cuts home energy bills has the potential to utterly transform homes in the future, and the system was created in East Tennessee’s own Oak Ridge National Lab.
Scientists have developed prototype geothermal “batteries” that, unlike conventional batteries, actually tap and store the heat energy of the Earth to provide heating, cooling and hot water.
Phase change materials have been in use for at least a decade in diverse applications, from medical care to home climate control.
“None of these technologies themselves are new,” said Sunil Mehendale, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech. “But combining all these technologies together in one structure, that’s what brings the novelty.”
“I would really like to see how a full-scale device stacks up against current technology,” Mehendale added.