Active Energy’s expertise in interfacial engineering led to the discovery of a new phenomenon:

Icephobic Heat Exchange

where a cooling surface repels freezing water. Leveraging it, we are developing:

Enhanced Ice Energy Storage

Energy storage is the missing link between intermittent renewable power generation and a de-carbonized electric grid. Today, ice energy storage plays an important role by shifting air conditioning demand off-peak. The idea is to use renewable energy to make ice, so that when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, ice can be used to cool buildings. We can make these systems much better.

Conventional ice energy storage systems freeze water directly onto the cooling coil. Ice is an insulator; for each layer formed, it is harder to freeze the next. Using icephobic heat exchange (IHEX) for ice energy storage is Active Energy’s core innovation. Working with a combination of surface coatings and lubricating oils, the cooling coil no longer allows ice to stick to its surface. Without this insulator building up on its surface, the cooling coil is much more efficient. Here is a video illustration:


Comparison of a conventional heat exchange surface (left) and our icephobic heat exchange surface (right).


A smaller, more efficient coil leads to enhanced ice energy storage, which means lower cost and improved performance.