Published: Sept. 19, 2018

$2 million award to reimagine US power grid

Contact(s): Patricia Mroczek College of Engineering office: (517) 432-1303, Caroline Brooks Communications and Brand Strategy office: 517-432-0920

A $2 million award will equip Michigan State University – and partners Arizona State University, Dresser-Rand and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures – with resources to develop the next generation of designs for long-duration storage on the United States power grid.

The award, created by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, is part of the Duration Addition of electricitY Storage, or DAYS, program. Only two universities – MSU and the University of Tennessee – are among the 10 teams awarded DAYS grants.

MSU mechanical engineering professors James Klausner and Joerg Petrasch, and ASU chemical engineering professor Christopher Muhich, are the primary co-investigators on the project, called Scalable Thermochemical Option for Renewable Energy Storage, or STORES.

The DAYS awardees will develop energy storage systems to power the electric grid for durations for up to 100 hours, enhancing grid resilience and performance. DAYS projects will explore a new design space in electricity storage, exploiting opportunities for smart tradeoffs that keep costs low in electrochemical, thermal and mechanical systems.

“MSU’s team will develop a modular thermal storage system that uses electricity from sources like wind and solar power to heat up a bed of magnesium manganese oxide particles to high temperatures,” Petrasch said. “Once heated, the bed will release oxygen and store the heat energy in the form of chemical energy. When additional power is needed, the system will pass air over the particle bed starting a chemical reaction that releases heat to drive a gas turbine generator. The low cost of magnesium and manganese oxide will help to keep the system cost competitive.”

Engineering Dean Leo Kempel said the project is typical of how MSU works collaboratively with the government, industry and other academic institutions to find transformative engineering solutions to societal grand challenges.

“A successful outcome from this project can significantly accelerate the penetration of renewable energy around the world and continue to position MSU as an international leader in renewable energy research,” Kempel said.

Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar announced MSU is among the 10 recipients of ARPA-E grants during an event at the Innovation XLab Energy Storage Summit on Sept. 18.

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