The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) recently awarded DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) $2.8 million to develop a grid electricity storage and power generation system.
The system includes a charging device, thermal energy storage modules, a heat exchanger, and a closed-loop Brayton cycle turbine.
“When electric power is cheapest, electric heaters will ‘charge’ the storage modules by heating stable, inexpensive solid particles to more than 1,100 degrees Celsius,” NREL Principal Investigator Zhiwen Ma said. “And when it’s time to discharge this energy, the hot particles will move through a heat exchanger to heat a working fluid that drives a high-efficiency closed-Brayton combined cycle attached to an electric generator.”
The award is part of ARPA-E’s Duration Addition to electricitY Storage (DAYS) program in which teams are asked to develop energy storage systems to provide reliable, affordable power to the electric grid. NREL’s system will focus on scalability as a 55-gigawatt-hour thermal storage system would power 50,000 homes for 100 hours during an outage.
This scalability would help enhance grid resilience and promote the growth of domestic energy sources.
NREL’s project team includes scientists, engineers, and professors from NREL; GE Global Research; Greenway Energy; Allied Mineral Products, Inc.; Purdue University; Colorado School of Mines; and Power Engineers.