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Startup develops 'future-proof' solution for fluctuating clean energy — here's how it works

Finding effective ways to store energy created by renewable resources is key.

Finding effective ways to store energy created by renewable resources is key.

Photo Credit: iStock

Arizona-based startup EarthEn is developing an innovative solution for storing the sustainable yet ever-fluctuating energy created by renewable power sources like wind turbines and solar panels.

One of the main issues with transitioning to energy created by renewable resources is that they are intermittent sources of power. Wind and solar power, for example, only produce energy when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

Since we need electricity around the clock, finding ways to store this power and tap into it when it's needed is critical. 

To that end, EarthEn is proposing two solutions for storing the clean energy created by the forces of nature.

First are the EarthEn Pods, a "flexible and future-proof" CO2-based storage method designed to store anywhere from four to over 100 hours of energy in a low-cost, scalable manner with a 30-year shelf life. 

The thermo-mechanical pods use supercritical CO2 (sCO2), the term for carbon dioxide that is held at levels of "temperature and pressure above its critical point where liquid and gas phases are not distinguishable," per Power magazine, in a closed loop to store energy.

The second innovation is EarthEn Edge, an AI-based technology aimed at using real-time data to support the power grid's resilience while facilitating communications between the company's hardware solutions. 

"Current energy storage solutions are very expensive, hard to scale due to material and geographic constraints, aren't flexible and have low asset lifetime values, and degrade due to heat and cycling," stated Karthi Chakaravarty, EarthEn's COO and co-founder, according to Renewable Energy World. "Current solutions are battery-based and suffer from supply chain constraints, and are unsafe with many of them exploding at customer sites. 

"This can only be fixed with a mechanical-based energy storage system," Chakaravarty continued. "One that's flexible and future-proof allows utilities to easily grow their energy capacity to meet the growing energy demands." 

Finding effective ways to store energy created by renewable resources is key for supporting a greater transition to a safer, more sustainable future for our planet. 

Not only do solar, wind, water, and similar energy sources keep our planet cooler by not producing heat-trapping air pollution like oil, gas, and coal, but they are also more affordable ways to power the planet that can save communities billions of dollars per year.

EarthEn will be showcasing its storage solutions at the 2024 DistrubTech International convention in Orlando, Florida. 

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