Low-cost technology stores energy underwater for use at peak times
TORONTO, May 6, 2013 /CNW/ - The MaRS Cleantech Fund is pleased to
announce the completion of a venture deal with Toronto energy storage
Hydrostor's technology converts surplus electrical energy to underwater
compressed air and stores it for use at peak times.
"Our fund targets technologies that change the energy game, and low-cost
storage is at the top of our list," says Tom Rand, co-managing director
of the MaRS Cleantech Fund. "This is grid-scale technology, meaning
that it has the ability to store energy on a level that will
significantly impact our electricity grid. If you combine Hydrostor's
technology with solar, or wind, you get cost-competitive base-load
renewable power that will disrupt global energy markets."
Hydrostor's proprietary technology is based on a simple idea: Anchor a
low-cost air cavity to the bottom of a lake or ocean floor, and store
energy for use when it is most needed.
Surplus renewable electricity is used to drive a compressor that
pressurizes atmospheric air to the pressure found at the sea floor
offshore. The heat produced during compression is extracted from the
air and stored in an insulated thermal reservoir. The air is stored in
low-cost underwater accumulators, where the weight of the water keeps
it at a constant pressure until required. When demand for electricity
is again high, the system is reversed: The weight of the water forces
the air back to the surface, where it collects the stored heat and
drives an expander, reproducing approximately 70 per cent of the input
electricity and releasing the air back into the environment.
The core advantage of this method is cost; Hydrostor can deliver
grid-scale energy storage at a fraction of the price of competing
Hydrostor has two commercial projects under development. The first is in
collaboration with utility host Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited
(Toronto Hydro). The second, with the national utility of a Caribbean
island, will store wind power generated at night when it can't
otherwise be used.
"Our project in the Caribbean will show renewables can compete directly
with fossil fuels for island nations," says Cam Lewis, CTO and founder
of Hydrostor. "By storing wind power at night and releasing it during
the day, we turn wind power into something really useful. We can
replace diesel generation today."
"The idea that wind and solar developers will be able to bid on
base-load energy contracts is very exciting," added Murray McCaig,
co-managing director of the Fund. "We'll be working with global
partners, who can deliver large-scale energy projects, to bring this
technology to market."
Early-stage venture capital is in short supply in Canada, particularly
in the burgeoning global cleantech sector. The MaRS Cleantech Fund
targets outsized returns by filling that gap in what is estimated to be
a $2-3 trillion dollar market by 2020.
"We'd like to thank the MaRS Cleantech Fund and our other A-round
investors for the confidence in Hydrostor and support they have
demonstrated," says Hydrostor CEO Curt VanWalleghem. "We look forward
to rapidly commercializing our scalable underwater compressed air
energy storage technology."
Hydrostor Inc. (www.hydrostor.ca) is a privately owned Canadian company that has developed a
proprietary, low-cost method of grid-scale energy storage using
underwater compressed air. Hydrostor's strategy is to partner with
utilities and energy producers to accelerate large-scale deployment.
About MaRS Cleantech Fund LP
MaRS Cleantech Fund LP is a Canadian venture fund focused on early-stage cleantech investing.
The Fund has developed a unique early-stage investment model through
its partnership with one of the largest innovation centers in world,
MaRS Discovery District. Through MaRS, the Fund is able to provide
strategic advisory services and introductions to global corporate
partners. The Fund is managed by Tom Rand (Twitter: @trand) and Murray McCaig (@murraymccaig), experienced entrepreneurs who bring a wealth of startup experience to
their portfolio companies.
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works
with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS
supports entrepreneurs building Canada's next generation of growth
SOURCE: MaRS Cleantech Fund
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