Electric Water Heaters as Thermal Batteries

The world is looking for answers as nations are officially recognizing climate change as an international crisis. Since 2016, over 1,800 governments, including Canada and parts of the USA, have made climate emergency declarations. The most recent of which is Singapore’s acknowledgment of a climate emergency. 

As businesses and countries step up to this challenge there is an increased demand for solar and wind energy generation solutions. To achieve the efficiency required and meet the demand that is being placed on sustainable energy, new ways to store this energy are a necessity. To this end, the use of electric water heaters as thermal batteries is set to become an important tool in the fight against climate change.

Storing Excess Power From Sustainable Sources

Wind and solar power systems have undergone significant improvements in their power generation and affordability. However, these sustainable power sources are not always producing power. An area that uses predominantly solar energy during the day may rely on fossil fuels at night. Even if they are producing excess solar energy.

The application of load banks for renewable energy help to reduce waste. They are commonly used to manage excess wind power, with growing use in hydro and solar. The load banks make it possible to divert power for safety or use as extra heat energy. However, they do not provide sufficient storage to prevent fossil fuel use when solar or wind sources are not producing energy. 

To achieve decarbonization, the reliance on fossil fuels must be resolved. The solution requires a function that acts more like a thermal battery, saving energy to be used when sustainable power is not being produced. 

An electric water heater can act as such a battery. As excess water is heated during the day via a solar panel, the electric water heater keeps the water at temperature. This way the stored hot water is available for use in the evening when demand spikes and the sun goes down. This not only reduces fossil fuel reliance but also prevents wastage of generated power.

Electric Water Heater Batteries in Practice

The use of electric water heaters as thermal batteries for sustainable energy generation is recognized. However, it is not yet widely adopted on a state or national scale. California is taking steps to become a leader by example.

Officials in California are looking to replace gas household water heaters with electric. In the near future, requirements or incentives to make the switch for commercial water heater systems appears likely as well. 

By switching to electric water heaters, California could make use of their capability as thermal batteries to meet energy demands. The state already receives 30% of its energy from solar and wind and has committed to 60% from renewable sources by 2030. The use of water heaters as batteries will help them achieve this goal.

A study from the New Buildings Institute (NBI) suggests that making the switch to electric water heaters could reduce greenhouse gases generated by water heating by a whopping 77%.

In addition to their thermal battery capabilities, inline electric water heaters already provide great advantages over fossil fuel alternatives. They are highly environmentally friendly, producing near-zero-emissions and provide a much greater degree of efficiency. Their performance is far greater than gas heaters from environmental, practical, and economical perspectives. 

Electric Water Heater Quotes

Wattco custom-manufactures electric water heaters for industrial and commercial use. Our engineers work with you to determine the ideal configuration for your project and budget. Materials, element configurations, and wattages are carefully selected to maximize performance and efficiency.

Contact us today for electric water heater quotes and information.