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Spring 2018 Seminar Series - 04/09/18

Chemical Engineering

Spring 2018 Seminar Series - 04/09/18






Doctor Imre Gyuk

U.S. Department of Energy


Monday, April 9, 2018


Seminar will be held in MR-1307 (Marshak Building) at 2:00 PM

Reception will be held in Steinman Hall, Exhibit Room (1st Floor), from 3:00 - 3:30 PM


Grid Scale Energy Storage Poised for Success: Developing New Technologies, Finding New Value Propositions

Energy storage has become one of the hottest topics in the utility industry. Research on materials and devices has been successful in exponentially reducing the cost of Li-ion systems and of several flow battery systems. In particular, research supported by DOE’s Office of Electricity has brought the cost of vanadium based systems from about $600/kWh to $300/kWh. However, upfront cost of a device is not the only factor that needs to be considered. The cycle life is almost equally important. Financially this means that inflation needs to be considered as well as the rate at which the device loses capacity. Some technologies such as Li-ion degenerate steadily whereas flow batteries tend to hold steady till end of life. Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) captures both initial cost and cycle life – at least in an aggregated way.

The presentation will discuss research on vanadium flow batteries as an example of consistent, device driven reduction in cost which eventually led to commercial success. However, it is also clear that progress on current battery technologies seems to have bottomed out and further cost decreases will depend on taking new approaches. Research along several new lines is well under way. The guiding principle is to turn to earth abundant, inexpensive materials. A leading contender are aqueous soluble inorganics under development by several groups, some of them funded by DOE. We expect to drive cost down another 50% to some $150/kWh by say 2022. Alternatively one can turn to materials such as iron, sulfur, or magnesium which already enjoy a wide industrial base.

But the eventual commercial success of energy storage applications will depend on aligning the cost of a project with the actual benefits of the technology. Ultimately it is the Return on Investment (ROI) which counts. And it has to be determined for each application! Markets are now gradually taking shape as changes in the regulatory framework result in more equitable valuation of storage benefits. The presentation will discuss diverse monetized and unmonetized benefit streams using multi-megawatt applications of a variety of energy storage technologies and featuring highly leveraged, DOE supported resiliency energy storage projects in Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Hawaii. Each project allows us to gain in experience and validate analytical models. 

In order for these strategies to be successful Utilities will want a number of issues resolved. Reliability is essential we will want to know why and how systems fail. Safety is even more essential – systems have to be engineered in a fail-safe way. Finally, the cost of decommissioning has to be considered seriously accurately determining the recycling or re-use potential of each technology.

After taking a B.S. from Fordham University, Dr. Gyuk did graduate work at Brown University on Superconductivity. Having received a Ph.D. in Theoretical Particle Physics from Purdue University he became a Research Associate at Syracuse. As an Assistant Professor he taught Physics, Civil Engineering, and Environmental Architecture at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Gyuk became an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at Kuwait University where he became interested in issues of sustainability.

Dr. Gyuk joined the Department of Energy to manage the Thermal and Physical Storage program. For the past 12 years he has directed the Electrical Energy Storage research program in the Office of Electricity developing a wide portfolio of storage technologies for a broad spectrum of applications. He supervised the $185M ARRA stimulus funding for Grid Scale Energy Storage Demonstrations and is now partnering with the States on storage projects for grid resilience. His work has led to 11 R&D 100 awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award. He is internationally recognized as a leader in the energy storage field.