FAIR LAWN, N.J. — Calmac’s ice-based energy storage technology was recently implemented into the Naval Post Graduate School’s Integrated Multi-Physics Renewable Energy Laboratory (IMPREL) in Monterey, California. The IMPREL microgrid project uses various forms of energy storage to store energy in the form it will be needed in, and a unique multi-physics approach to optimize the use of on-site sources of renewable energy. Calmac’s ice-based energy storage provided the microgrid with durable and smart technology for flexible use of solar and wind to store cooling.

“Ice-based energy storage is the low-hanging fruit of the industry,” said Mark MacCracken, CEO of Calmac. “Sun and wind are forms of pure energy that, without being paired with energy storage, are either used or wasted. Luckily, energy storage can easily be integrated into our buildings and power grid.”

Energy storage is an integral technology for microgrids that can act as a single entity that can connect to the power grid or work independently from the grid in what is called “island-mode.” The multi-physics approach used by the IMPREL matches demand to the supply of electricity created by on-site photovoltaic panels and wind turbines. To achieve independence from the rest of the grid, energy is either used as it is generated or stored for later use when output dips. This differs from the traditional approach of a power grid where supply is dictated by demand. In fact, the traditional approach does not account well for the intermittence of renewable energy output, which often leads to times when end-user demand surpasses renewable output and vice versa.

“Applying the multi-physics approach to our microgrid project, over the traditional microgrid approach, allowed for the use of fewer renewable energy sources to meet demand, reducing size, costs, and the amount of unused energy,” said Dr. Anthony Gannon, assistant professor, mechanical and aerospace engineering department, Naval Postgraduate School. “Using thermal energy storage allowed for the project to greatly reduce its costs and improve efficiency by storing the energy in the form that it would be ultimately used in. Based on the project’s operation, we feel like this design could easily be scaled-up for larger applications.”

Publication date: 12/26/2016

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