Review on sodium acetate trihydrate in flexible thermal energy storages: Properties, challenges and applications

Gang Wang, Chao Xu, Weiqiang Kong, Gerald Englmair, Jianhua Fan*, Gaosheng Wei, Simon Furbo

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Future energy systems with a large share of fluctuating renewable energies demand thermal energy storages that are flexible and reliable. Sodium acetate trihydrate (SAT) has been investigated for many years as heat storage materials but the focus of the investigations were mostly on short-term applications. SAT has a high energy storage density and a large supercooling degree which make it an ideal flexible heat storage material. Heat storages utilizing stable supercooling of SAT can store heat almost heat loss free in both short-term and long-term, which offers great benefits for the energy system. A review of SAT heat storages is presented in this article. The investigations show that flexible heat storages using SAT have clear advantages over a traditional water based heat storage in both short-term and long-term heat storage. Significant decrease of the storage size (at least 60%) is considered a merit for applications in single family houses where there is a spatial constrain. Moreover, the SAT heat storages offers flexibility in system operation, which is considered beneficial for renewable energy such as solar heating systems. The main challenges for the heat storages, for instance, low heat exchange capacity rate, phase separation and spontaneous crystallization, are addressed. Remedies to overcome the challenges are discussed. The paper will also investigate stability of supercooling and reliability of triggering methods for controllable release of the latent heat stored in supercooled sodium acetate trihydrate. Recommendations for further investigations are proposed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102780
    JournalJournal of Energy Storage
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The research was partly funded by Danish Energy Agency EUDP project titled ‘IEA Task Material and component development for thermal storage systems (No. 640160018 ), partly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51821004 ) as well as the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2019QN036 ).


    • Flexible heat storage
    • Nucleation
    • Phase separation
    • Seasonal thermal energy storage
    • Sodium acetate trihydrate
    • Supercooling


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