Energy Generation and Storage

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.


Applied Exergy

Applied Exergy

Project Title: Thermal Approach to Grid Energy Storage (TAGES)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Hailei Wang, Oregon State University

Company Contact: Bailey McCallum, CEO, Applied Exergy

Description: A remarkably simple and cost effective energy storage system can be realized by using waste (or otherwise low-grade) heat. This approach to energy storage is poised to open up new areas for waste heat utilization, energy recovery, and enhanced power plant operations. The concept uses inexpensive, bulk storage of frozen water slush and conventional technology to store energy from the grid. But unlike currently existing cold storage technologies meant to relieve air-conditioning loads, this thermal approach reconstitutes the electrical energy and places it back onto the grid. Because it is thermally based, integration with existing power plants and HVAC systems is straightforward. Very low-grade heat in the range of 40 to 80 degrees C can be utilized to boost round trip efficiency into the 70 to 90% range, depending on conditions. Because of the versatility afforded by thermal storage, the concept presented here should be considered scalable platform technology useful across many areas of application - it is referred to in the following pages as TAGES, which stands for Thermal Approach to Grid Energy Storage. Up to the present time there has been no significant linkage between low-grade heat utilization and energy storage. We have shown how practical electrical energy storage can be directly coupled to low-grade heat where the potential benefits are many. The linkage of these two areas is through an innovative system that resembles the Rankine cycle with imbedded thermal energy storage. The conventional thinking in this area has been that such an approach is impractical. However, a new concept recently developed at Oregon State University has dispelled the idea that electrical energy cannot be efficiently stored in a thermal manner at moderate conditions. Cost metrics for this new approach are currently being developed, but Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has conducted an early cost analysis at the 10 MW/50 MW-hr level. The analysis gave an attractive cost structure for the system. This new approach is versatile and can be applied in many ways to power generation when sited at a location having access to low-grade heat. Possible applications include:

  • Utilizing waste heat to efficiently store base load energy for use at peak demand times.
  • Storing renewable energy at any time and making it dispatchable.
  • Storing energy at a conventional power plant during times of intermittent renewable power generation to avoid cycling the plant.
  • Recovery of energy in steam plumes and providing energy storage capability while recovering water.
  • Integrating with carbon capture systems to utilize waste heat for energy storage.
  • Integrating with data centers, refineries, pulp and paper mills, and other industrial sites for storing off-peak energy for use at peak times.
  • Sited at geothermal facilities to store electrical energy during the night and place it on the grid during the day for enhancing revenue generation.

Since receiving their ONAMI Gap grant, Applied Exergy has received an Oregon BEST Commercialization Grant to Help Advance Grid-Scale Energy Storage Technology. (Link: oregonbest.org/using-ice-slush-store-energy.)


CSD Nano

CSD Nano

Project Title: Development of High Performance Anti-Reflective Coatings

Principal Investigator: Kenneth Williams, Oregon State University

Company Contact: Dr. Chih-hung Chang, CSD Nano, Inc.

Description: CSD Nano, Inc. is a solution deposition company focused on addressing anti-reflective coating (ARC) needs within the rapidly growing solar cell cover glass industry. CSD is actively pursuing license to intellectual property from Oregon State University for nano structured ARCs deposited via micro reactor-assisted nano material deposition (MANDtm) technology. Funds from this collaboration will be used to assist CSD, with support from Oregon State University researchers, with delivery of several coated substrates to a market leader in solar cell manufacturing, with whom CSD has developed a strategic relationship after demonstrating greatly improved anti-reflective properties in test samples. In August 2012, CSD Nano received a Phase II STTR award of $500K to optimize and demonstrate the scale-up of nanostructured anti-reflective coatings (ARCs) to meet the specifications of solar energy customers.

Company Website: csdnano.com


Element 1

Element 1

Project Title: Methods for the Thin-Foil Membrane Separation of Hydrogen

Principal Investigator: Brian Paul, Oregon State University

Company Contact: Peter Hall, Element One

Description: Element 1 (Bend, OR) and Dr. Brian Paul of Oregon State University and the MicroProducts Breakthrough Institute are working to develop a novel means for producing ultra-pure hydrogen gas for use in several industrial applications. This program is aimed at developing a fabrication method for applying an ultra-thin palladium-alloy foil to a supporting substrate (microscreen). The foil has high permeability to hydrogen and is useful in purifying hydrogen, and the microscreen substrate lends strength to the foil to withstand high transmembrane pressure without rupture. Previously e1 has developed a module design for palladium-alloy foils that are functional but much thicker. The module consists of a stack of thin palladium-alloy foils—each supported by a microscreen substrate—sandwiched between thick steel endplates.

Company Website: e1na.com


Energy Storage Systems

Energy Storage Systems

Project Title: Improved Redox Flow Battery Power Density

Principal Investigator: Tony Chen, Portland State University

Company Contact: Craig Evans, CEO, Energy Storage Systems, Inc.

Description: Energy Storage Systems, Inc. (ESS), an Oregon-based business located at Portland State Business Accelerator (PSBA), has identified that the low power density of Vanadium Redox flow Battery (VRB) systems predominantly results from high ohmic and kinetic losses at the electrodes in conventional designs. As a result, ESS has invented an innovative multi-layer electrode and cell design that maximizes active electrode surface area while minimizing system pressure drops. Based on the current intellectual property, ESS has demonstrated VRB cell performance with a 5-fold improvement in comparison to that of conventional VRB technology. ESS is currently working to further improve the cell performance to a total of 10-fold through material and design optimizations. This ONAMI ‘GAP Grant’ will be instrumental for ESS to finalize components’ selection and scale up this innovative cell design to a 1kW demonstration unit in order to validate the target performance and reliability at the system level. This validation will be a critical milestone to enable ESS to secure investor financing so commercialization of the 50kW system (300 kWh+ range) may proceed. In August 2012, ESS was awarded a $1.75M ARPA-E Grant to fund flow battery development. (Link: ARPA-E Announces $43M Transformational Energy Storage Projects Advance Electric Vehicle and Grid Technologies.)

Company Website: energystoragesystems.com


NWUAV

NWUAV

Project Title: Development of fuel injection device for heavy fuels

Principal Investigator: Todd Miller, Oregon State University

Company Contact: Joe Gibbs, Business Development Manager, NW UAV, Incorporated

Description: NWUAV and the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute (MBI) of Oregon State University are working to develop a novel fuel injector capable of atomizing heavy fuels (JP-5) for use in spark ignition engines. Using microchannel structures designed and developed at the MBI, the team will work to enable use of these fuels for unmanned aircraft engines (produced by NWUAV) and with the engines designed and manufactured by NWUAV. The NWUAV/OSU team has developed critical operating specifications for their fuel injection device, allowing it to function at temperatures and altitudes consistent with typical use cases in the field. The team believes the fuel injection device to be developed will also function well for use of heavy fuels for other applications including motor vehicles and tools, a true breakthrough in the use of heavy fuels in spark ignition engines. Click here to view an ONAMI Gap Program Video highlighting NWUAV and the MBI.


Onboard Dynamics

Onboard Dynamics

Project Title:  Self-Refueling Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle

Principal Investigator: Dr. Chris Hagen, Oregon State University

Company Contact: Rita Hansen, Onboard Dynamics

Description:  With funding from ONAMI, the US Department of Energy (ARPA-E), Oregon BEST and other supporters, Onboard Dynamics, Inc. and Dr. Chris Hagen of Oregon State University are working to develop a novel on-vehicle, engine-compressor system capable of filling a 10 gallon gasoline equivalent (GGE) gge (at 250 bar) natural gas tank to 3600psi in under 60 minutes. This solution will advance the adoption of natural gas light-duty fleet vehicles in the U.S. by providing a low-cost solution for refueling. Moreover, increased use of natural gas vehicles will displace the use of imported oil and, as a cleaner burning fuel, also reduce transportation-related energy emissions.

Company Website: onboarddynamics.com


OnTo Technology

OnTo Technology

Project Title: Development of Processes for Rechargeable Battery Recycling

Principal Investigator: Todd Miller, Oregon State University

Company Contact: Dr. Steve Sloop, OnTo Technologies

Description: OnTo Technology, working with the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute at Oregon State University, is working to develop a means to recycle material from commonly used Lithium Cobalt Oxide rechargeable batteries. To our knowledge this is the first effort to produce battery grade material from end-of-life cells. This Gap funding project seeks to produce lithium-ion batteries manufactured with OnTo’s refurbished positive electrode material. Funds from this collaboration were used to extract materials from spent LCO batteries, fabricate new batteries, and perform functional and safety testing.

Company Website: onto-technology.com


Perpetua Power Source Technologies

Perpetua Power Source Technologies

Project Title: Materials and Process Development for Power Electronics Packaging

Principal Investigator: David C. Johnson, Oregon State University

Company Contact: Jerry Wiant, VP Operations, Perpetua Power Source Technologies

Description: A collaborative project combining world-class thermoelectric technology resources from the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Perpetua Power Source Technologies. The team will blend research and development efforts to produce increased thermoelectric energy properties that can improve commercial opportunities for powering remote wireless sensors in the agriculture and environmental monitoring markets using renewable energy solutions. Perpetua has received many awards and presents company news here: Perpetua News and Events.

Company Website: perpetuapower.com


Pacific Light Technologies

Pacific Light Technologies

Project Title: Quantum Dot Based Materials for High Brightness LEDs

Principal Investigator: Zhiqiang (Tony) Chen, Portland State University

Company Contact: Ron Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Light Technologies

Description: Pacific Light Technologies (PLT) is a materials company focused on delivering engineered nanomaterials targeting the LED lighting market in order to enable more efficient lighting. PLT is using facilities, equipment and expertise from Portland State University to develop high-performance, low-cost lighting solutions by replacing the traditional inefficient phosphors of today with their engineered materials. The LED market is growing rapidly and the PLT product targets increases both in the efficiency and adoption rate of LEDs, allowing them to deliver higher-quality, warm light, compared to the harsh blue light from first-generation white LEDs and fluorescent lights. The efficiency of the PLT materials can reduce the number of LEDs required to produce a given amount of light, and their integrated phosphor + matrix formulation simplifies the LED packaging process. PLT will develop and produce the nanomaterials, formulate them into a matrix, and sell them to the LED module manufacturers for use in their luminaires.

In 2012, PLT closed a $3M Series-A financing round led by the Oregon Angel Fund and Portland-based venture capital firm Pivotal Investments. (Link: Pacific Light lands $3M for LED technology [Portland Business Journal, 5/4/2012].)


Polaris Battery Labs

Polaris Battery Labs

Project Title: Laboratory Commissioning for Battery Testing Services

Company Contact: Doug Morris, Polaris Battery Labs

Principal Investigator: Erin Flynn, Portland State University

Description: Polaris Battery Labs, working with Portland State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology, is working to expedite the advance of new battery technologies and establish processing services for companies looking to bring advanced battery cells to market. The intent of this project is to perform initial trials on the core electrode, cell assembly, and testing processes. This will demonstrate that the lab has the basic equipment on board, installed, and proven to be functional with documented capabilities for Polaris' customers. The Lab addresses two major roadblocks facing battery technology companies today:

  • Startups lack the staffing, process knowledge, funding, and equipment to develop samples and optimize recipes which results in significant delays for customers and investors.
  • Commercialization of new battery technologies is capital intensive and takes a great deal of time to pass quality standards. For a company to build a new factory it takes $50M-$100M of capital and a rigorous period for safety and customer approvals that often takes years. Polaris’ partners can get companies to market fast.

Polaris provides the following critical processing services:

  • Anode and Cathode Electrode Mix and Coat Trials
  • Pouch Stack Cell Assemblies
  • Cell and Material Analytical Testing Services
  • Business Advisory Services
  • A Link to High Volume Production of Electrodes and Cells
  • Material Purchasing
  • Process and Equipment Development

Read the recent article Polaris positioned for battery testing checkered flag featured by Sustainable Business Oregon.

Company website: polarisbatterylabs.com


Trillium Fiberfuels

Trillium Fiberfuels

Project Title: Microfiber Xylose Isomerization for Ethanol Production

Principal Investigator: Vince Remcho, Oregon State University

Company Contact: Mr. Chris Beatty, Trillium FiberFuels, Inc.

Description: Trillium FiberFuels and Oregon State University are developing a microfiber isomerization reactor and system which enables xylose fermentation to ethanol. Trillium's unique approach to generating ethanol seeks to use agricultural residues, such as wheat or grass straw, as the source for this valuable fuel, avoiding use of the edible portion of these plants which have other commercial uses. The reactor and system seek to increase cellulosic ethanol yield by 30-40% over existing methods, thereby dramatically reducing cellulosic ethanol production costs. Trillium Fiberfuels has also been awarded a Phase I SBIR Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for their work in this area.