Heat Pump and Phase Change Thermal Energy Storage Feasibility Study

The Applied Energy Research Lab at NSCC will lead a consortium of private and public sector partners to develop and evaluate electricity demand response solutions using air source heat pumps (ASHP) with advanced phase change material thermal energy storage (PCM-TES). This novel technology is being developed in Nova Scotia and is at an early stage in its approach to the market. We will assess the feasibility of this solution to facilitate demand management and renewable energy integration on the electrical grid and develop strategies to optimize the use of this technology.

Electrification of space heating in Nova Scotia, especially with heat pumps, is proceeding rapidly and will be a significant part of meeting our 2030 and 2050 decarbonization goals. A widespread transition from home heating oil to heat pumps, however, also creates a large challenge for the future capacity of the NS electricity grid to meet winter peak demands.  Moreover, the frequent defrosting demands of ASHP outdoor equipment in Nova Scotia’s mild winter weather (-5–5˚ C) and their reliance on high-power back-up electric resistance heating in periods of very cold weather, create challenges for grid capacity. The threats to grid stability posed by a growing demand for electric space heating will be compounded by a doubling of the share of electricity supply from renewable energy sources such as wind power, increasing the variability of electricity supply.

In responding to these challenges, ASHPs coupled with PCM-TES represent one emerging solution. By storing heat in the phase change of a material that can be held at room temperature, thermal energy can be stored for more than 24 hours and retrieved when needed.

The project team will utilize dynamic building energy simulations representing a variety of NS buildings with TES-integrated ASHP heating systems to investigate the effectiveness of dynamic load-shaping control strategies to stabilize the electricity grid.


Principal Investigator: Wayne Groszko, Nova Scotia Community College
Partners: Dr. Louis Desgrosseilliers, Neothermal Energy Storage Inc.; Dr. Reda Djebbar, CanmetENERGY-Ottawa (NRCan); Dr. Jonathan Wooley, Emanant Systems; Dan Curwin, Stash Energy

September 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024