In this study, the definition of a new methodology for a preliminary evaluation of the working boundary conditions under which a seasonal thermal energy storage (STES) system operates is described. The approach starts by considering the building features as well as the reference heating system in terms of solar thermal collectors’ technology, ambient heat sinks/source, and space heating distribution systems employed. Furthermore, it is based on a deep climatic analysis of the place where the STES needs to be installed, to identify both winter and summer operating conditions. In particular, the STES energy density is evaluated considering different space heating demands covered by the STES (ranging from 10% up to 60%). The obtained results demonstrate that this approach allows for the careful estimation of the achievable STES density, which is varies significantly both with the space heating coverage guaranteed by the STES as well as with the ambient heat source/sink that is employed in the system. This confirms the need for careful preliminary analysis to avoid the overestimation of the STES material volume. The proposed approach was then applied for different climatic conditions (e.g., Germany and Sweden) and the volume of one of the most attractive composite sorbent materials reported in the literature, i.e., multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT)-LiCl, using water as the working fluid, needed for covering the variable space heating demand in a Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) was calculated. In the case of Swedish buildings, it ranges from about 3.5 m3
when 10% of the space heating demand is provided by the STES, up to 11.1 m3
when 30% of the space heating demand is provided by the STES.
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