Justin Briggs (PhD, AP), Andrew Ponec (BS, EE), Prof. Jen Dionne MSE (co-PI), Prof. Bill Dally EE(co-PI)
Inexpensive, long-duration energy storage is necessary to enable the widespread deployment of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, but existing technologies fall short. To meet this need, we are combining high-temperature thermal energy storage with novel, high-efficiency thermophotovoltaic energy conversion. When excess electricity is available – for example, at mid-day in electric power systems with high solar penetration – a resistive element is used to heat an inexpensive thermal storage medium contained in a large, insulated tank. When power is needed, photovoltaic cells are exposed to the thermal radiation emanating from an emitter in contact with the hot storage medium, generating electricity. This inexpensive, long-duration energy storage technology will enable global adoption of renewable energy, and thus help eliminate gigatons of CO2 emissions annually.