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New grant to help power U.S. energy grid for DAYS

Portrait of Christopher Muhich

Christopher Muhich

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy has selected 10 projects to be a part of the Duration Addition of electricitY Storage program, known as DAYS.

A $2 million award to help develop the next generation of designs for long-duration storage on the U.S. power grid was granted to Michigan State University and partners at Arizona State University, Dresser-Rand and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.

Christopher Muhich, a chemical engineering assistant professor in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, is one of three primary co-investigators on the project along with Michigan State University mechanical engineering professors James Klausner and Joerg Petrasch. The project is called Scalable Thermochemical Option for Renewable Energy Storage, or STORES.

“It is very exciting to be working on the DAYS project with MSU and APRA-E,” says Muhich. “The long-term electrical energy storage solutions that we are working on through DAYS is going to be critical as the nation and the world integrate ever more renewable energy into the electric grid. By storing the electrical energy as heat, we can achieve relatively low-cost storage over long periods. In addition to directly contributing to the engineering of energy storage systems, there are many interesting fundamental chemical and materials engineering questions that will we will get to tackle.”

Muhich will work with the team to develop a modular thermal storage system that uses electricity from sources such as wind and solar to heat up a bed of magnesium manganese oxide particles to high temperatures. Once heated, the particle bed will release oxygen and store the heat energy in the form of chemical energy. The system is designed to pass air over the particle bed to start a chemical reaction that releases heat to drive a gas turbine generator.

Each of the 10 projects selected for ARPA-E’s DAYS program has a goal to develop its own energy storage system that provides power to the electric grid for durations of 10 to approximately 100 hours. The systems will be deployable in almost any location and can charge and discharge electricity at a target fixed cost per cycle.

These projects will allow for new opportunities to increase grid resilience and performance as the extended discharge times of these projects enables a new set of applications for grid storage, including long-lasting backup power and greater integration of intermittent, renewable energy resources.

About The Author

Erik Wirtanen

Erik Wirtanen graduated from Arizona State in 2001 with a B.S. in Recreation Management and Tourism. He got his start in the communications field as an undergrad with the ASU Athletics Media Relations office. He worked at UC Irvine from 2002 until 2014 in the Department of Athletics and then The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. In August of 2014, Wirtanen joined the communications office at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Media Contact: erik.wirtanen@asu.edu | 480-727-1957 | Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Communications

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