Infratech Chemical Looping Energy on Demand System
The Newcastle Chemical Engineering Group invites you to attend a site visit of the Newcastle Institute for Energy & Research ‘Infratech Chemical Looping Energy on Demand System.’
Imagine having a fridge-sized box in your home that not only generates and stores electricity on-site, but heats and cools the house, provides hot water and even churns out oxygen and hydrogen to use or sell. That's the vision that a team from the University of Newcastle and Australian company Infratech Industries is working towards.
The device, a Chemical Looping Energy-on-Demand System (CLES), is based on an original invention by Professor Behdad Moghtaderi of the University of Newcastle. Infratech has been involved almost from the start, helping out with the technical development of the system as well as plans to commercialize it.
An industrial-scale reference plant was unveiled in early April this year, designed for a hospital, retirement village or a similar-sized commercial building. The CLES wouldn't just supply the facility with electricity, but also help out with the heating, cooling and hot water, and produce oxygen and hydrogen that can either be used on-site or sold.
In short, the CLES acts like a combination of a generator and a battery: it can use natural gas to generate electricity to power a building, or take electrical energy from the grid or renewable sources and store it for later use. The system is based around a reduction-oxidation (redox) reaction, with a canister of a specially-blended particle mixture that cyclically gains and loses electrons. When those particles oxidize, they heat up, creating steam that drives a turbine to generate electricity. Then, when they reduce again, they release oxygen that can then be collected.
In earning its ‘Swiss army knife’ title from its developers, the CLES can be run in two different modes. An energy storage mode works like a big battery where energy can be fed into the system from the grid or renewable sources like solar panels, and stored until it's needed. That could protect the building from outages, take advantage of lower off-peak electricity charges, or simply
let its occupants store solar energy for night-time use.
The second mode is what the team calls Energy on Demand. On this setting, the unit would be constantly fed energy from natural gas to keep the redox cycle running, generating enough power (along with the other outputs) to serve the building's needs. The main advantages of this mode is that it helps a facility reduce its reliance on the main grid and use natural gas instead, which is generally cheaper, more reliable and generates only about a third of the emissions.
To demonstrate the CLES, a full-scale reference plant has been built at NIER. About the size of a shipping container, this system is currently capable of producing about 720 kWh of electricity per day, which according to the team is enough to power about 30 or 40 homes, a small hospital or retirement village, or a military field hospital. Making the system modular means that it could be scaled up to power bigger commercial buildings, but for now they're more focused on scaling down to serve individual homes.
Register early to be included in this rare opportunity to view the system up close with commentary from Prof Behdad Moghtaderi.
Please note: Arrival by 3.50pm required. Parking is limited, so please allow sufficient time to park & arrive by 3.50pm