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Innovation Spotlight: New modular energy storage technology ready to capture curtailed wind and solar power for Hawaii’s utility grids

February 14, 2013 05:07 PM EST By: Regina Ramazzini

Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit Innovation Tracker: Bright Energy Storage Technologies, LLP (Bright Energy), a TechConnect Accelerator participant-Honolulu, HI, 2012

Many experts have stated that the renewable energy industry will never fully overtake fossil fuel in the electric power market until it invents a silver-bullet technology breakthrough for safe and cost-competitive energy storage (ES) technology.  It has been said that only cost competitive energy storage can overcome renewable power’s biggest shortcoming – power generation intermittency—when renewable powered electricity stops flowing when the wind stops blowing or when clouds cast large shadows over solar farms.  Now, a technology development company with scientists from MIT, Princeton, and the aerospace industry may have invented this crucial missing link. 

Bright Energy Storage Technologies, LLP (Bright Energy) was chosen to present at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit’s Project Finance Challenge this last summer in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The company has developed new high-efficiency, ultra-low-cost energy storage (ES) systems which are reported to be about half the cost of current battery-based storage.   The Bright Energy systems are also said to deliver a 70% to 78% round trip efficiency in the power re-delivery process.

TechConnect News spoke with Scott Frazier, Co-Founder and CEO at Bright Energy. According to Frazier, “these new energy storage systems will deliver superior net energy costs for firm and fully dispatch-able renewable energy, which is an unprecedented accomplishment for utility scale energy storage technologies up till now.  We are very pleased with all the test results in California over the past two years and we will be building our first commercial projects for power off-takers in the Hawaiian islands in early 2014.”

The company’s presentation showed the conference attendees how their technologists have developed a suite of energy storage systems which utilize adiabatic multi-staged Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) methods combined with innovative storage media such as high pressure air vessels (similar to scuba tanks) and high pressure thermal storage containers configured in standard shipping containers or within the company’s advanced and patented or patent pending undersea storage vessels.  Where the geography is appropriate, the company’s advanced storage systems could be combined with geologic cavity storage caverns.  The current Bright Energy systems can be deployed anywhere there is space for standard stacked 40-foot or 20-foot shipping containers, or where there is access to the ocean, lakes, or local reservoirs. The company has garnered over 30 US and international patents to date, with more on the way.

Frazier told TechConnect News that as a result of the conference, several new project and investment partners have been in contact with them and that they are currently negotiating the site arrangements for their commercial-scale demonstration projects in Hawaii.  Due to current non-disclosure agreements, the company would not discuss which islands will be deploying their technology first. 

The privately held Denver based company was awarded the Iberdrola Perseo award for the world’s leading new energy storage (ES) technology in 2011. Iberdrola is the world’s largest renewable energy utility.

According to Brian Von Herzen, CTO for Bright Energy, “Never before has the renewable energy industry had this opportunity to deploy utility-scale energy storage (ES) technology that is so versatile and so cost effective.  We can now deliver reliable green power 4 to 12 hours a day during high-cost peak power demand times at costs that are lower than the current fossil fuel produced electricity.  I have been involved in renewable energy for over three decades, and this is truly a new day.”

For more information, please visit the company’s website at: www.brightes.com or contact their VP of Business Development in Hawaii, Gerry Dameron, at gerry@brightes.com.

 

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