In partnership with AESP: The increasing roles of DERs, connected technology and Big Data are driving rapid change in energy efficiency. As we shape the Utility of the future, this community will help you keep up with the latest developments. 


Start-up Pairs Ice with A/C to Store Energy, Reduce Peak Demand

The Energy  Mix's picture
Blog posts The Energy Mix

The Energy Mix is a Canadian non-profit that promotes community awareness of, engagement in, and action on climate change, energy, and post-carbon solutions. Each week, we scan up to 1,000 news...

  • Member since 2018
  • 716 items added with 794,200 views
  • Oct 5, 2021

Air conditioner

Paul Sullivan/flickr

Ice (both solid and melting) may soon help pave the way to a carbon-free world, offering an alternative to energy-gobbling air conditioning and a new way to store excess renewable energy.

“The cooling properties of ice don’t need to be explained. But did you know that ice can store energy and help companies reduce their carbon footprint in the process?” asks the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Though the first assertion (of basic physics) hardly needs defenders, the second is central to the premise behind the “IceBrick” technology under development by Israeli start-up Nostromo Energy.

In hot countries today, air conditioning drives “a huge portion of the peak demand in the energy grid,” the WEF says. That demand that has already doubled since 2000, and it’s set to increase sharply over the next three decades—not just in places that face very hot weather, like certain regions of China or India, but also in more temperate zones.

Standard air conditioning systems use a lot of energy because inputs are required at every stage in the process: from the cooling coils that remove heat and humidity from the indoor air, to the fan that disperses the chilled air, to the mechanisms that release the collected heat to the outdoors.

Enter Nostromo’s IceBrick, which “promises to cut the environmental and financial cost of air conditioning for large commercial buildings” in a two-step process. The first is the conversion of water to ice “using electricity at times of low demand, for example at nighttime, or when there is a surplus of electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind farms.” The second step is energy discharged by “melting the ice and pumping the cold water through the building until temperatures drop in the evening.”

The system “not only relieves the electricity grid from the intense energy demands of air conditioning and lowers electricity costs for building owners,” the WEF explains. “It also offers a storage solution for excess renewable energy that would otherwise go unused.”

That secondary capacity could prove a particular boon. “Storing surplus renewable energy is critical for balancing out the intermittent nature of renewables and one of the biggest challenges on the road to reaching net-zero emissions and halting climate change,” the WEF says. That makes thermal energy storage (TES) systems like IceBrick a critical supplement to the battery storage systems already in place and being developed to store renewable power.  

Nostromo’s innovation is not the first form of TES technology. In a report from 2018, Inside Climate News describes how towers of molten salt are already helping solar farms meet the challenge of providing electricity on demand.


No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

The Energy  Mix's picture
Thank The Energy for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »