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Energy Efficiency Story - Three Examples

image credit: Supercapacitor Energy, LLC
Todd Pistorese's picture
CTO, Supercapacitor Energy, LLC

Mr. Pistorese is Chief Technology Officer of Supercapacitor Energy, LLC. His thirty-six-year career spans utility operations, finance, IT development, energy storage and management. Todd roles...

  • Member since 2021
  • 4 items added with 411 views
  • Nov 1, 2021

Energy Efficiency Story

A Trilogy

The term energy efficiency typically brings to mind ideas like increasing insulation in a home or business, reducing thermostat settings in the winter or raising settings in the summer.  It also evokes actions like replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs.  Most people equate these simple, direct acts with increasing their energy efficiency. 

But there is more that can be done if individuals and businesses act proactively.  If they have a home or business equipped with solar, they can add storage to indirectly impact gas-fired peaker plant production by moving daytime solar to evening high demand hours.  This process is called energy arbitrage, whereby daytime solar-charged energy storage is discharged to serve evening & nighttime loads after the sun sets.  The avoidance and outright reduction of fossil fuel consumption is another means of energy efficiency, or should I say, preservation of energy. 1 kWh requires 0.5kg of natural gas burn.

Shown here are a few examples with both direct and indirect impact on fossil fuel consumption.

California Telecom off-grid site. Annual Fuel Savings 82%

Alaska Commercial Heli-skiing off-grid site. Generator run-time reduced 70%


Hawaii residential & Michigan commercial grid-tied energy arbitrage. TOU demand offset annually 21%


The vast majority of residential and commercial energy storage using chemical batteries is installed as UPS backup to protect against utility outages.  Ninety percent of these systems are not called upon to cycle in a way that moves solar energy production to match load demand. Generator run-time cannot be reduced due to the limitations on the charge rate of chemical batteries.  Cycling batteries daily would render the energy storage useless, or nearly so, in under five years.  Rapid recharge would, at least, damage chemical batteries and diminish their life cycles significantly, if not, at worst, incite thermal runaway.  The impact on chemical battery life makes such uses uneconomical under most conditions. 

Supercapacitor energy storage has four distinct advantages that make it superior to chemical alternatives for indirectly improving energy efficiency by reducing fossil fuel consumption and increasing efficiency when it does run.  Those advantages are: 

  • vastly longer cycle life,
  • rapid recharge capability,
  • higher round-trip efficiency (99%) and
  • minimal degradation over time and use.

The installations shown here have one thing in common.  They all use Supercapacitor energy storage for daily cycling support, fuel use reduction and energy arbitrage.  In all cases, they employ solar as an alternative source to charge energy storage and effectively reduce generator runtime and peak demand loads through daily energy storage cycling.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 2, 2021

They all use Supercapacitor energy storage for daily cycling support, fuel use reduction and energy arbitrage

Is there a typical breakdown for how often during a typical day the system is engaging in each of these applications? 

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Nov 3, 2021

Todd, I love Super capacitors. I would love to see them in parallel with batteries on every electric vehicle. They are as good as Solid State batteries that are not ready yet. The Bellore Blue car used Supercaps and had much better range and battery life.

      I also like the remake of the NYC State Tower build by Amory Lovins on RMI. They made it much more efficient and healthy to work in. At my home I have radiant barrier , more insulation, LED lights , Solar screens out side and Inflectors inside. I run my entire home for 3 people with  1400 sq ft 3 BD 2 BA on 4 kW of Solar PV and a Solar Hot water panel in the HOT Chandler Arizona area.  I make 120% of my use with no other fuel. I plan to add V2G with my 2 Electric cars and an even more efficient Heat Pump next. Being efficient is great.  

Todd Pistorese's picture
Todd Pistorese on Nov 3, 2021

The TOU arbitrage is specifically set to discharge supercaps to cover loads between 5PM and 10PM daily, which is peak price time. The system designed for peak demand shaving is engaged based on demand, so the supercaps discharge to cover loads above a set current limit. The fuel reduction application creates savings through more rapid recharge of the supercaps then would be possible in recharging chemical batteries, thus shortening the generator run-time and optimizing generator efficiency.

Todd Pistorese's picture
Thank Todd for the Post!
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