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Using Ice Slush to Store Energy
Oregon BEST Commercialization Grant to Help Startup Advance Grid-Scale Energy Storage Technology
Funds will speed commercialization of technology that utilizes thermal storage and waste heat to distribute stored energy during peak demand periods
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) has awarded a commercialization grant to a collaborative project involving an Oregon State University research team and Applied Exergy, Inc., an Oregon startup developing an energy storage technology that captures and stores energy as an icy slush, then uses a heat source to discharge the stored energy when needed.
The patent-pending technology, called Thermal Approach to Grid Energy Storage (TAGES), stores energy using an OSU-developed microchannel heat exchanger to chill water into a pumpable ice slurry (see photo), then taps low-grade heat from industry or other sources such as geothermal wells to discharge the stored energy at optimal times using a Rankine cycle generator. This generator uses the temperature difference between the ice slurry and the heat source to generate electricity without burning fossil fuels.
Industrial sites, large computer server farms, conventional power stations, and other locations often release waste heat into the atmosphere or water. The TAGES technology could help companies store energy in the form of ice at night using off-peak power, then tap the waste heat to release the stored energy during periods of peak electrical demand, thereby reducing their energy costs.
The TAGES technology addresses the growing market for grid-scale energy storage that can be used by utilities to simplify integration of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, into the grid and to improve overall grid stability and performance. In the Pacific Northwest, TAGES could be utilized to store excess energy during the spring when both hydro- and wind power are plentiful, and for geothermal wells that don't produce high-grade heat, an issue that has limited development of geothermal in many regions, including Oregon.
Portland General Electric is tracking development of new energy storage technologies, including TAGES. “We have a keen interest in energy storage technologies that could help us integrate variable renewable generating resources on the grid,” said Joe Barra, consultant for business model development at PGE. “Technologies like these also hold the potential to make the grid smarter, greener and more resilient.”
Michael Baker, CEO of Applied Exergy, says low-grade heat in the range of 50 to 80 degrees Celsius allows TAGES to deliver a return on investment that is on par with current state-of-the-art large-scale energy storage. The technology can also be scaled up without sacrificing efficiency, something the Oregon BEST funding will help document.
"We are honored to be recipients of this Oregon BEST Commercialization Grant, which will allow us to increase the performance and design-for-manufacturability of the system,” said Michael Baker, CEO of Applied Exergy. “It's a significant leap forward in our path to commercialization.
The $150,000 grant is part of $1 million in Commercialization Grants that Oregon BEST is awarding this year to fast-track commercialization of the state’s most promising clean technologies being co-developed by university researchers and private businesses.
The new award builds on two previous ONAMI gap fund grants to Richard Peterson (OSU Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Exergy co-founder): $249,000 in 2011 to develop the first TAGES demonstrator system and validate the system model, and $63,000 in 2012 under the U.S. Economic Development Administration i6 Challenge to advance heat exchanger component technologies required for maximum performance.
The funding will enable Hailei Wang, an Oregon BEST researcher in OSU’s School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, to lead research and engineering that will enhance the heat exchanger component of the system and generate computer modeling to demonstrate the technology’s ability to be scaled from 100 kilowatts to 100 megawatts or more.
“In the near future, the TAGES technology could provide an alternative grid energy storage technology to pumped hydro, compressed air energy storage and more expensive batteries,” Wang said.
This is the fourth Commercialization Grant awarded this summer by Oregon BEST.
“We’re pleased to be able to target our Commercialization Program grant funds to help this Oregon startup advance a unique technology that can ultimately create jobs, save energy and establish yet another Oregon firm as a cleantech innovator,” said David Kenney, President and Executive Director of Oregon BEST. “As Applied Exergy commercializes this environmentally-benign, highly scalable technology, it has the potential to revolutionize the energy storage industry and create new cleantech jobs."
Applied Exergy and prior recipients of Oregon BEST Commercialization Grants will present research posters on their projects at Oregon BEST FEST ’12 in Portland, Ore. on Sept. 12.
About Applied Exergy
Applied Exergy, Inc.(AE) is advancing a Thermal Approach to Grid Energy Storage (TAGES) that uses waste or low-grade heat to enable efficient storage of energy in a manner that is environmentally sound and cost effective. An Oregon-based company, AE leverages advanced microchannel technology developed at Oregon State University. The company intends to fully commercialize the TAGES system with support from a Series A capital investment, which is currently being sought.
About Oregon BEST http://oregonbest.org
The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) is the nexus for clean technology innovation, building capability, convening collaborations, and accelerating solutions to environmental challenges that deliver prosperity in all corners of Oregon. Oregon BEST brings together Oregon’s significant R&D strengths in clean technology to support the commercialization of new products and services. Since establishment in 2007, Oregon BEST’s 210-plus Member Faculty have generated more than $60 million in research revenue from federal, industry and foundation sources to Oregon. At its four partner universities (Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, and University of Oregon), Oregon BEST has established a network of seven shared-user research facilities. Oregon BEST Commercialization Grants are awarded to collaborations between entrepreneurs and Oregon BEST member faculty at partner universities. The first four Commercialization Grant awardees from 2011 have secured more than $1.5 million in follow-on funding, more than six times the total grant amount awarded.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Gregg Kleiner, 541-740-9654
SOURCES: David Kenney, Oregon BEST, 503-725-9849; Michael Baker, Applied Exergy, 971-563-3083; Hailei Wang, Oregon State University, 541-713-1354
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