Supercooling, a common phenomenon in nature, has been used to develop a supercooled water-based thermal energy storage for buildings, data centers and even gas turbine inlet cooling for fast ramping during hot days. Instead of forming ice outside heat exchanger surfaces (copper tubing is commonly used), which can greatly decrease the heat transfer effectiveness and not be scalable for cost, the supercooling-based ice generation and storage concept can bring significant energy efficiency and cost benefits into this growing field to enable more renewable penetration. This is because ice is only formed in the storage tank, not “coated” on heat transfer surfaces. While the team is building a functional prototype for 10 kWh cold storage, the fundamental knowledge of heterogeneous ice nucleation mechanisms as well as thermal-hydraulic characteristics of various low energy surfaces have also been pursued for further study.

  Supercooling project