An Analytical Method for Identifying Synergies Between Behind-the-Meter Battery and Thermal Energy Storage

Matthew Brandt, Jason Woods, Paulo Tabares-Velasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus Citations


Electric utilities build generation capacity to meet the highest demand period, and they often pass on the costs associated with these peaking generators to building owners through demand charges. Building owners can minimize these demand charges by shifting energy use away from peak periods with behind-the-meter storage. This storage can include batteries, which can directly shift the metered load, or thermal energy storage, which can shift thermal-driven electric loads like air conditioning. However, there is a lack of research on how best to combine battery and thermal energy storage. In this study, we develop an analytical sizing method to calculate the potential demand reduction and annualized cost savings for different combinations of thermal and battery energy storage sizes. We show that adding batteries to a thermal energy storage system can increase the total system's load shaving potential. This is particularly true when the building has onsite photovoltaic generation or electric vehicle charging, which add significant variability to the load shape. We also show that for a given total storage size, selecting a higher fraction of thermal energy storage can significantly lower the cycling of the battery, and therefore extend the battery life. This, combined with the expected lower first cost of thermal energy storage materials compared to batteries, shows that hybrid energy storage systems can outperform a standalone battery or standalone thermal storage system. Assuming the thermal storage has a capital cost 6x lower than the battery, our analysis shows that the optimal system is 71% thermal energy storage and 29% battery energy storage for a scenario with electric vehicle charging. The annualized cost savings for this system are $48.6 k/yr, whereas an equivalently sized standalone thermal energy storage system would provide annualized cost savings of $28.5 k/yr and a standalone battery would lead to savings of $8.72 k/yr. The hybrid system also reduces battery cycling by 52% compared to a standalone battery, extending battery lifetime.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number104216
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Energy Storage
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-79251


  • battery
  • energy storage
  • thermal energy storage


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