PI: Carlos Romero
Co-PI(s): Alparslan Oztekin, Sudhakar Neti, Kemal Tuzla, Mark Snyder
University: Lehigh University

Thermal energy storage (TES) is an attractive option for large power plants–solar as well as fossil. TES can help overcome fluctuating electricity demand and enable efficient power dispatch. Storage of thermal energy at high temperatures and large scales in a cost-effective way ($/kWhth) is very challenging and could be achieved with the help of thermochemical energy storage (TCES).

At Lehigh University, a team of faculty, researchers, and students are participating in a research group that aims at developing strong TCES capabilities and expertise to take a leadership position in this research area. This team has a very good track record in the general area of TES and it is actively pursuing novel research on TCES. This proposed Seed Grant application is to advance the research capabilities of the Lehigh team in TCES and promote future collaboration with PA companies in the TES commercial space. In this project, computer modeling will be complemented with laboratory scale experiments of cobalt and manganese oxides. While there is published literature related to metal oxides, practical difficulties still need to be overcome and this seed grant will work on these issues to eventually improve the TCES concept and improve its Technology Readiness Level (TRL).

The proposed research will include material selection/preparation, quantification/improvement of reaction kinetics, and investigation of cyclic and thermal stability of TCES materials for packed bed applications. The topic and project goals are in line with PITA goals and objectives, and the project will enhance the technical capabilities of Lehigh University in this topic area. This area of research has great potential for commercial applications in the solar industry. A commercial partner, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc., is interested in this research. Other companies, specifically Dynalene, Inc. and Air Products and Chemicals, have also expressed interest in working with Lehigh on this topic.