Seabrook, N.H., October 18, 2011 — SustainX, Inc., developer of a technology for utility-scale energy storage using compressed air, announced that it has received a 7th U.S. patent that provides additional technology options for its isothermal compressed-air system, including variants allowing either hydraulics or a mechanical crankshaft.
The crankshaft design is a simple technology, has low frictional losses making it energy efficient, and can transfer large amounts of power, which supports the construction of SustainX's, megawatt-scale storage systems.
A SustainX isothermal (constant-temperature) energy storage system removes heat from air being compressed for storage and adds heat to air being expanded to generate electricity. This prevents the temperature extremes that can occur with high-pressure compression and expansion of air.
The four-year-old company has already received several US patents for core elements of its technology, completed a pilot project, and is on track to demonstrate its first megawatt-scale, grid-connected system in collaboration with AES Energy Storage under an award from the Energy Storage Program at the Department of Energy.
SustainX is working in the emerging market for utility grid-scale energy storage being created by both the growth in renewable generation and the need to make conventional power plants as efficient as possible.
SustainX aims to be an alternative to costly "peaker" plants that burn natural gas or other polluting fuels. With its energy storage technology, wind and solar power, for example, can be stored for later use by utilities when the wind slows or the sun doesn't shine.