Source: PR Newswire
WEST LEBANON, N.H., June 22 /PRNewswire/ — SustainX, Inc., a New Hampshire-based startup developing a utility-scale energy storage technology based on compressed air, has finalized a $5.4 million award by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under a federal program to demonstrate new Smart Grid technologies.
The DOE considers energy storage a crucial technology for the Smart Grid, the more efficient national electric-supply system that will be built within the next decade or two. The traditional grid stores almost no energy: when demand rises suddenly, so-called “peaking” turbines, most fired by natural gas, must rapidly come on-line. Since such plants are idle most of the time, they are an expensive source of power. With storage units scattered at strategic points throughout a Smart Grid, shifts in demand could be met more flexibly, lowering transmission and generation costs.
The funds will enable SustainX to accelerate its technology development and ultimately deploy a full-scale demonstration unit in 2012. That technology, which the company calls ICAES™ (Isothermal Compressed-Air Energy Storage), uses electrical energy to compress air near-isothermally (i.e., at approximately constant temperature), stores it aboveground in commercial gas storage containers, and expands it near-isothermally to generate electricity. No fuel is involved.