A new technology developed in Australia could be a solution to the looming energy crisis facing the world. Developed by Australian company Infratech Industries in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, the ‘Energy-on-Demand’ system overcomes the predictability and environmental issues that currently plague renewable energy and storage solutions.
The Infratech CLES (Chemical Looping Energy on Demand System) puts the production, distribution and management of power, oxygen and hydrogen into the hands of the consumer. Described by Prime Minister the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP as a solution to Australia’s ‘energy crisis’, the technology allows for integrated power generation, oxygen generation (health and wellness), water heating, heating and cooling ventilation, and hydrogen production.
Professor Behdad Moghtaderi, Director of the Priority Research Centre for Frontier Energy Technologies and Utilisation at the University of Newcastle’s NIER (Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources) facility, says there are no comparable systems in the world to the InfratechCLES system.
Dr Rajesh Nellore, CEO and founder of Infratech Industries said that the impetus on energy storage systems, such as batteries, needs to be supplemented with impetus on the ability to generate energy when required, thereby creating ‘Energy on Demand’.
According to Nellore, the InfratechCLES solution generates a multitude of benefits, has no negative impact on the environment, and also improves the wellbeing and lifestyle of those who use it.
Pat Conroy, Shadow Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, who inaugurated the system at University of Newcastle’s NIER, reiterated the importance of Government and industry looking to alternate solutions to Australia’s looming energy crisis.
CHEMICAL LOOPING ‘ENERGY ON DEMAND’ TECHNOLOGY
Professor Behdad Moghtaderi of the University of Newcastle co-leads the team to develop the advanced thermochemical process for ‘Distributed Energy Generation (DEG)’, otherwise known as the Chemical Looping ‘Energy on Demand’ technology with Infratech Industries.
Observing that the technology draws from his invention - the CLAS (Chemical Looping Air Separation) process patented by the University of Newcastle, he says it also features a number of unique characteristics that make it distinct. With the poly-generation process capable of simultaneous production of heat, power, oxygen, hot water and chilled water for air-conditioning, the overall efficiency of the process is in excess of 90 percent.
The InfratechCLES process runs on natural gas for temperature balancing, which is the most reliable utility in many parts of the world, releasing only a third of the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of fossil fuels and no intermittency compared with renewable energy sources.
The InfratechCLES system has been designed for around-the-clock operation. In this mode, the system needs external heat to maintain reactions within the particle mixture. The heat can be supplied by natural gas, electricity from renewable energy sources, by the system itself or in any combination, says Dr Nellore.
In terms of global application, the InfratechCLES system is scalable and can service larger customers such as hospitals and commercial complexes to smaller installations such as residential and medical therapy customers where numerous types of respiratory diseases are treated with oxygen due to its beneficial palliative and supplementary role. It also creates a hydrogen network for fuel cell cars in the future.
The system can run for pre-defined hours at a time, for example, in peak periods and can be programmed to produce only power and oxygen, or a combination of both along with heating, cooling, hot water and hydrogen.
The reference plant for the InfratechCLES system, inaugurated at the University of Newcastle’s Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), can produce energy for 30 homes along with oxygen, hot water, heating, cooling and hydrogen for these homes. Within 18 months a scaled InfratechCLES system will be available to every Australian homeowner.