Firstly, Ecobuild. It was much reduced compared to previous years: only one (enormous) hall in use, rather than two as previously. Very little academic presence, and those suppliers I sounded out on collaboration seemed only keen to sell their current product lines. Troubled times for ecobuilding of all sorts.
What was noticeable was a lot of domestic electric batteries – of all types from simple lead-acid up to elaborate lithium -iron phosphate. Apparently the rush of solar panels has produced a lot of power during the daytime (when people are away at work) which overloads local power distribution. Batteries are being promoted to hold this surge until the evening when it can be consumed locally. This also applies to off-peak power at night, and one supplier claims to be addressing this market.
So, for the first time we have a possible alternative to the unstable, inefficient storage of heat overnight in blocks of fireclay. We could charge up our electric battery at night and release it for thermostatically controlled heating during the day.
At the moment the electric option is pricey. Some sort of AC/DC conversion will be required and battery prices are high, but will come down with bulk manufacture. The question is when will electric storage become competitive with heat storage with or without fan assistance ?
What we need is a friendly engineer to look into this for us. Any volunteers to my mailbox, please, at susflatdevon plus the usual gmail.com add-on.