MSU in East Lansing Receives $2M to Reimagine U.S. Power Grid


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MSU is working to develop designs for long-duration storage on the U.S. power grid.

Photo courtesy of Michigan State University

East Lansing’s Michigan State University Wednesday announced it has received $2 million to help develop next-generation designs for long-duration storage on the U.S. power grid. MSU will work with partners Arizona State University, Dresser-Rand, and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures on the project.

The award was created by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and is part of the Duration Addition of “electricitY” Storage (DAYS) program. MSU and the University of Tennessee are the only two universities among 10 teams awarded DAYS grants.

The DAYS awardees will develop energy storage systems to power the electric grid for durations for up to 100 hours, enhancing grid resilience and performance. DAYS projects will explore a new design space in electricity storage, using opportunities for smart tradeoffs that keep costs low in electrochemical, thermal, and mechanical systems.

MSU’s project is called the Scalable Thermochemical Option for Renewable Energy Storage, or STORES.

“MSU’s team will develop a modular thermal storage system that uses electricity from sources like wind and solar power to heat up a bed of magnesium manganese oxide particles to high temperatures,” says Joerg Petrasch, a mechanical engineering professor at MSU and co-investigator of the project.

“Once heated, the bed will release oxygen and store the heat energy in the form of chemical energy. When additional power is needed, the system will pass air over the particle bed, starting a chemical reaction that releases heat to drive a gas turbine generator. The low cost of magnesium and manganese oxide will help to keep the system cost-competitive.”

James Klausner, mechanical engineering professor at MSU, and Christopher Muhich, chemical engineering professor at Arizona State University, are also co-investigators.

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