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New Invention to Make Alternative Energy More Efficient and Economical

Posted on Tuesday, May 22 2012

The University of Minnesota recently licensed an invention that could potentially help make storing solar and wind energy more efficient and economical.

Licensed to SustainX, a leading global developer of grid-scale energy storage solutions, the invention will assist in developing isothermal, near-constant temperature compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems that provide bulk energy storage capacity; the CAES system will also reduce carbon emissions while increasing reliability of the electric grid.

Normally, compressed air is stored in underground caverns with limited availability and practical use. The SustainX system will use pipe-type air storage, making it possible to store energy virtually anywhere.

“A lot of renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, are unpredictable– the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine,” says Perry Li, inventor and medical engineering professor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. “With economical bulk energy storage, one can really stabilize these energy sources.”

The SustainX alternative could also potentially reduce the need for gas-powered peaker plants operting during hours of peak energy usage.

“This licensing agreement with the University of Minnesota expands SustainX’s growing IP portfolio and provides our company with another possible method of implementing our unique isothermal CAES technology,” says SustainX V.P. and General Manager Dax Kepshire.

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