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Elements Collide

A new ice energy-storage system better integrates wind energy at a campus in Ireland.

By Candace Pearson

This story originally appeared on BuildingGreen.com.

September 17, 2013
Calmac's Icebank energy storage system helps shift the PJ Carroll building's electrical demand to off-peak times and utilizes the energy produced by the schools wind turbine onsite when production is at its height.
Courtesy Ros Kavanagh, BDP
Calmac's Icebank energy storage system helps shift the PJ Carroll building's electrical demand to off-peak times and utilizes the energy produced by the schools wind turbine onsite when production is at its height.

At Dundalk Institute of Technology, tanks of ice store wind energy produced at night and cool classrooms during the day. A thermal-energy-storage system designed by Calmac maximizes the amount of renewable energy that can be used onsite for the university’s PJ Carroll building—a renovated cigarette factory, now a creative arts building.

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The school is home to an 850 kW wind turbine that was installed in 2005—the first large commercial turbine on a college campus in the world, according to Dundalk. The turbine generates an estimated 1,500 MWh for the campus annually, but because the availability of wind power does not always match peak demand times, energy was often sold back to the grid. After equipping just one building with thermal energy storage, the university now uses 79 percent of the energy it produces.

Eight ice tanks are installed in the basement of the PJ Carroll building, each with a capacity of 162 ton-hours of cooling and a volume of 6.25 m3 of ice, according to a study published in the Journal of Sustainable Engineering Design. With a higher cooling capacity than that of chilled water storage, the “ice banks” run the chiller when there is excess electricity from the turbine and circulate chilled water as the ice melts during the day.

The university plans to renovate the remaining 64,000 square feet of the PJ Carroll building, and energy modeling calculations show that continuing to pair ice storage with wind energy could ensure 96 percent of the building’s electricity demand is met by power produced onsite.

Copyright 2013 by BuildingGreen Inc.

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