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Ceramic structures for thermochemical heat storage, the HEXCER project
14 June 2022
The Institute for Mechanical Engineering and Materials Technology (MEMTi) works on the HEXCER project to develop additively manufactured ceramic architectures for heat and mass exchangers.

The Hybrid Materials Laboratory of the Institute for Mechanical Engineering and Materials (MEMTi) of the Department of Innovative Technology (DTI) of SUPS is taking part in the HEXCER project to develop a thermochemical system for seasonal heat storage.

The three-year HEXCER project, founded by the Swiss Innovation Agency (Innosuisse) and carried out in collaboration with the Institute for Solar Technology (SPF) of the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences (OST), aims to realize a heat storage system based on thermochemical principles by exploiting the peculiar properties of heat and mass exchange of ceramic architectures produced by additive manufacturing.

«At MEMTi we develop the ceramic components of the heat and mass exchanger to increase its power and efficiency. Currently, we are optimizing the production process and engineering the structured porosity of these innovative parts» explains Giovanni Bianchi, Senior Researcher at MEMTi.

The thermochemical system under development uses a solution of water and sodium hydroxide that is concentrated to store energy exploiting renewable sources and diluted to recover thermal energy. In particular, the evaporation and condensation of water take place in a single exchanger reducing the system size and the thermal losses in respect to more complex heat management approaches.
«This technology has the advantage of converting energy during the summer through solar collectors or panels, allowing it to be efficiently stored until it's needed, e.g. in the cold season», continues the researcher.
Besides the technical activities, the project includes the analysis of the safety conditions for installation and a study on the level of stakeholders’ acceptance (architects, producers, owners, and installers).

«Once available on the market, the system will also be suitable for installation in single-family houses thanks to the reduced volume and costs, representing an alternative to centralized heat storage solutions», Bianchi concludes.