Improving energy efficiency: “Network and thermal storage” platform of Grenoble’s CEA under the microscope

The opportunity was rare and precious. In the heart of the Peninsula, the French Atomic Energy and Renewable Energy Commission (CEA) opened its doors during a visit to discover some of its innovative installations.

As a major player in research and innovation, the CEA is strongly involved in the development of renewable energies. Its Innovation Laboratory for New Energy Technologies and Nanomaterials (LITEN) has created a “Network and Thermal Storage” platform that is located on three sites, one of which is located in Grenoble.

Unique in Europe for its size and the diversity of its research and development activities, this platform develops innovative technologies for managing thermal energy, recovering it and storing it for future use. The energy is then distributed via heating networks such as heat pumps or boilers.

The Grenoble site, located on the Scientific Peninsula, has several facilities including energy storage modelers. During the visits organised on 31 January and 1 February 2018, the participants were able to tour these different facilities, each of which uses a different means of storing energy: in the form of heat, by interposing cold and hot water (sensitive storage), by using phase change materials such as in the heating network of the Flaubert ZAC in Grenoble or by chemical reaction (thermochemical storage).

The objective of these installations is to provide optimal energy storage, which takes up little space and greatly reduces heat loss. The CEA and LITEN thus contribute to the promotion of energy efficiency but also to the deployment of low-carbon energies such as solar, hydrogen or bio-resources.

To learn more about LITEN and its innovations

Prototype of heat storage by phase change material (MCP): 400kg of MCP, stored energy 40kW.h, temperature 120°C


Continuous fluidized bed thermochemical storage reactor: the world’s first developed at LITEN. Power 5kW Stored energy 15kW.h Temperature 600°C


  • The Project

    A city operating entirely on clean energy. In theory, it's possible. But in real life? How to integrate new solutions in existing buildings, systems and people's lives? What are the technical, economic or social barriers? And how to overcome these? That's what we learn by doing in 20 projects in Grenoble and Amsterdam.

  • Our Activities

  • Expected Impacts

    • 20 innovations in Grenoble & Amsterdam
    • 35,000 tonnes CO2 saved per year
    • 76,000 m² renovated residential buildings
    • 10,000 dwellings connected to a Smart Grid