EAST HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 2, 2013 - United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), the research and innovation arm of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), today announced that UTRC's PureStorage flow battery energy storage technology has been named by industry experts and the editors of R&D Magazine as a recipient of the publication's coveted R&D 100 Award. It is listed among the 100 most technologically significant products introduced during 2012.
The PureStorage system was selected for a 2013 R&D Award by virtue of its ability to provide safe, energy-efficient and readily deployable electric energy storage at 5-10 times the power density of conventional flow battery cells. Various companies in Japan, Germany and China are already beginning to sell conventional commercial flow battery units. The advanced technology recognized by this award could make flow battery systems even more attractive to utilities for a range of applications globally.
The PureStorage system is potentially beneficial in regions that experience frequent power outages, since it provides assured backup power. In addition, the system can be used on a daily basis to convert irregular renewable energy sources (e.g., solar and wind) into reliable 24/7 sources of power. Further, the battery can be used to significantly reduce a customer's electricity bills by minimizing the amount of power purchased during peak periods when electric rates are higher and/or demand charges are applied by the local utility.
Additionally, the product can be sized to suit commercial- to grid-scale applications, and the power output and energy capacity tailored independently to match each customer's specific storage requirements -- all at approximately half the cost of competitive storage solutions, including Lithium-ion batteries, molten-salt batteries and other flow battery technologies.
Moreover, the PureStorage flow battery system eliminates the negatives of existing electrical-energy storage options that are either geographically limited without scalable options (e.g. pumped hydro and compressed air energy storage) or are cost prohibitive at very short discharge times. The PureStorage flow battery system also provides the flexibility to serve both short-duration high power and long-duration high energy applications. These important core attributes made this technology all the more compelling to the R&D 100 judging panel.
"Each year since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards have showcased revolutionary technologies and products with the potential for global impact," said Dr. David Parekh, Vice President, Research, and Director, UTRC. "It is gratifying to see a UTRC breakthrough concept publicly lauded through a respected industry forum that has served research scientists, engineers and laboratory technical staff around the world for more than 50 years." "In designing the PureStorage system, we were able to pull from five decades of world-class knowledge in fuel cells and then innovatively apply our expertise to the three major components of that technology -- the flow field, electrodes and membrane -- to dramatically improve performance and reduce cost in a flow battery concept," said Craig Walker, Director of UTRC's UTC Climate, Controls & Security program office at UTRC. "Winning the R&D 100 Award validates the impact of such advanced thinking." UTC is actively working to license UTRC's PureStorage flow battery technology to strategic manufacturing partners across the globe.
The PureStorage technology has been packaged in a standard 20-foot shipping container to demonstrate its capability for ready deployment and installation at customer sites. The demonstration system is currently installed at United Technologies Research Center, where it is electrically integrated with the facility to demonstrate industrial building applications.
R&D Magazine features its R&D 100 Awards and recipients, including UTRC's PureStorage flow battery system, in its October 2013 issue. The publication presented UTRC with its R&D 100 Award at its annual awards ceremony in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 7. For a complete list of 2013 R&D 100 Awards winners, visit http://www.rdmag.com/award-winners/2013/07/2013-r-d-100-award-winners.
UTRC delivers advanced technologies to the businesses of United Technologies Corp. (UTC) to improve the performance, energy efficiency and cost of UTC products and processes. UTRC engages with United Technologies business units and external research organizations globally to pursue research and develop innovative technologies that meet and anticipate the needs of the marketplace.
Founded in 1929, United Technologies Research Center is headquartered in East Hartford, Conn., with an office in Berkeley, Calif. and research and development centers in Shanghai, China and Cork, Ireland.
United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company that provides a broad range of high-technology products and services to the global aerospace and building systems industries. Its commercial business, UTC Building & Industrial Systems, is the world’s largest provider of building technologies with elevator, escalator, fire safety, security, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems and services leading to safer, smarter, sustainable and high performance buildings. The company’s aerospace businesses include Sikorsky aircraft, Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines and UTC Aerospace Systems aerospace products. For more information, visit www.utc.com or follow the company on Twitter: @UTC.