Electricity Free Heating Solution

HoCoSto

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action

Overview

As energy consumption increases and its gas reserves start running out, the Netherlands is looking to increase the consumption of renewable energy among its people. With a mission to achieve Zero Carbon emissions by 2050, only 7.4% of total energy consumption in the Netherlands came from renewable energy in 2018. The Dutch government predicts that by 2020, 14% of the total Dutch energy consumption will come from renewable energy.

Nonetheless, energy storage still remains a problem in realizing the mission. While everyone is actively looking to find newer and smarter ways to use and store energy, many startups are rising to address the challenge. HoCoSto is the ultimate solution for using the benefits of solar energy during wintertime. They are experts in seasonal thermal energy storage.


Author

Aritro Ghosh

Aritro Ghosh

School

TIAS School for Business and Society

TIAS School for Business and Society

Professor

Mirjam Minderman

Mirjam Minderman

Innovation

HoCoSto, which stands for Hot Cold Storage was founded by Rene Geerts in 2012. It buffers solar energy in underground storage facilities during summer in the form of sensible heat for use in winter. HoCoSto promotes the SDGs of Renewable Energy, Climate Action, Sustainable Cities & Communities, and Innovation & Infrastructure. Storing thermal energy in itself is not a new concept. However, the real innovation, as described by Rene, is the way in which energy is stored.

Rene says: “We didn’t innovate a new way to store heat, but we innovated a new way of building the vessel that stores heat.”

It is a simple storage construction that is compact, which can handle pressures of up to 5 tons per wheel and can be installed in most areas without any loss of space. This innovation, which has also been patented, has significantly brought down the cost of storing thermal energy and the space required for such an installation.

The entire system, which can be installed within a week, greatly minimizes or even entirely eliminates the costs of heating. And depending on its scale and size one can even go completely off the grid.


Electricity Free Heating Solution

Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage

Inspiration

The inspiration to start HoCoSto came after Rene sold his old LED company, which employed about 80 people. Spurred by his urge to completely shift to renewable energy and bring down the size of vessels used to store thermal energy, Rene started HoCoSto. Rene had already been pondering upon this idea for about 10 years before he decided to take the plunge. He had a great economic understanding of the industry and began working on a unique model that would greatly reduce the size and cost of installation. As told by Rene “the smaller the size, the better the business case”. HoCoSto can now do these installations at Euro 150 per cubic meter compared to their competitors who install them at Euro 500 per cubic meter.

Rene says “I worked in an LED manufacturing company for 30 years and I had this idea for 10 years. I decided to quit but only for 6 weeks. Then I decided to kickstart this idea of reinventing these heaters.”


Overall impact

HoCoSto provides sustainable solutions for gas-free neighborhoods and these seem quite interesting for municipalities, housing, and energy cooperatives. HoCoSto has served 33 long-term B2B customers and foresees a turnover of €3.2 Million in the year 2020. To achieve the goals of the climate agreement, HoCoSto uses solar collectors, which generate hot water from solar energy in combination with underground heat storage buffers. Since 2018, after the filing of a global patent for the storage unit, they have expanded to other countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, UK, etc. Communities from other countries are showing great interest in this technology. Their mission now is to expand globally and give other countries and communities the benefit of this renewable source of technological innovation.

Applications

HoCoSto in the groundwater protection area

A renovation project in the groundwater protection area. Drilling for geotherm solutions is not allowed… But no restrictions for the STES (seasonal thermal energy storage)!

Single house storage

Domestic hot water and space heating for a family house can be provided by the smallest HoCoSto storage: an 85m3 version covers a family's demand.

Storehouse heating and cooling

500m3 of HoCoSto storage heats and cools the storehouse floor of an agricultural contracting firm together with offices and family houses. Annual savings of 15,000 m3 of natural gas.


Business benefit

HoCoSto has a patented sustainable heating solution, that is installed for customers at a one-time cost and requires very low maintenance for 30 years. Energy management is viable only if 100 m3 of storage is installed. So, the company mostly focuses on B2B and consumer societies, in order to sustain the business.

Because of increasing climate awareness in the Netherlands, HoCoSto has gained a lot from increasing awareness and realization among consumers. The demand for such technology has increased significantly since 2015 and more people are investing in the cause of climate impact and dependency on renewable sources of energy.


Social and environmental benefit

HoCoSto is dedicatedly working to install systems that save energy consumed for heating purposes. They have reduced the use of traditional electricity generated from fossil fuels and facilitated the use of alternative sources of energy. The company impacts and contributes to climate change in various sectors. They jointly create an ecosystem for sustainable cities and communities. Lastly their impact on the infrastructure and innovation is largely shown in their projects, executed, and delivered successfully.

Rene suggests “Our innovation is only feasible and targeted at communities and industries, so the environmental impact is huge.”


Interview

Rene Geerts, Founder

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HoCoSto

HoCoSto

Zundert, North Brabant, NL

Business Website: https://www.hocosto.com/

Year Founded: 2012

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

HoCoSto stands for Hot Cold Storage which stores heat in the summer season for use in the winter season. HoCoSto claims its patented innovation is the ultimate solution for using the benefits of solar energy during wintertime by offering Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage options.