AERTC Focus Areas
Offshore wind (OSW) has emerged as a leading technology to produce carbon free energy. Ongoing developments continue to improve the economics of OSW. Many opportunities remain for new innovations related to how the electricity will move from the wind turbines to consumers. A growing ecosystem of established companies, start-ups, academic organizations, funding agencies and public interest groups has recently come together. AERTC is at the center of this ecosystem.
AERTC collaborates across several areas of importance to the Offshore Wind (OSW) market. This includes technologies that aid in the design of wind turbines, configuration of the offshore wind farm, high voltage equipment for power conversion, grid modeling for power distribution, energy storage, and utilization. AERTC also supports workforce development at the K-12 level though working professionals with facility tours and targeted workshops.
Electric Grid Modernization
The industry roadmaps for decarbonization rely heavily on electrification of applications from automotive to home heating. New sources of carbon free electricity such as wind, solar and remote hydro will continue to come online soon. The electric grid requires modernization to adapt to the changing supply and demand profiles, this is referred to as a smart grid.
AERTC, in collaboration with leading researchers at Stony Brook University and our utility partners, are advancing several technologies to aid this effort. This includes sophisticated grid modeling using computer hardware from RTDS Technologies to optimize future grid configurations such as meshed HVDC. Leading research in the field of power electronics is applied to advanced converter and circuit breaker designs required for the modernized grid.
Economic analysis is a critical component of any evaluation for real-world application. Applying the same level of rigor as done with technical evaluation increase the value of the project deliverables to our partners.
It is commonly understood that the wind does not always blow, and the sun does not always shine. Clean energy from these sources is inherently variable. The demand for power similarly varies based on the time of day, outside temperature, and personal habits. Storing excess energy when available and discharging when needed is essential to meeting widely publicized decarbonization goals.
Lithium Ion has emerged as the leading technology for battery storage. This is one of several platforms that can potentially be scaled up for grid level energy storage. New material development, characterization, and demonstration at AERTC and or partners such as Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) continues to expand our fundamental understanding complex battery systems.
AERTC works with a wide range of researchers, start-ups, utilities and industrial companies to development and demonstration a wide range of energy storage devices. Examples include Vanadium Flow Batteries (VFB) and Flywheel Energy Storage (FES) systems.
Hydrogen and Sustainable Fuels
There are certain applications where direct electrification is extremely challenging, if not impossible. Examples include historical buildings, aviation, and shipping. Alternative solutions are required to meet decarbonization goals. Green hydrogen and hydrogen-derived e-fuels can be produced by clean energy sources such as offshore wind, especially in times where supply exceeds demand in what has become collectively known as the Power-to-X (P2X) process. These fuels are a clean energy carrier with many uses.
AERTC works in collaboration with leading researchers, start-ups, private and public organizations to accelerate technology development and adoption. This includes hydrogen generation, pipeline transportation and storage projects. Ammonia is another P2X candidate gaining increased interest. Ongoing research includes advanced combustion of hydrogen, ammonia, and natural gas blends.
Emerging Decarbonization Technologies
Constantly challenging the status quo, AERTC’s researchers and innovators explore unique solutions to everyday problems. These applications range from energy efficient remediation of soil contamination to superconducting material for fusion reactors. Collaborations draw on a deep pool of talent including Stony Brook University faculty, graduate students, industrial innovators, and nationally recognized technology leaders from Brookhaven National Lab and elsewhere.
AERTC’s 50,000 ft2 facility includes specialized equipment, focused research institutes, shared use laboratory space, microscopy lab and collaborative working space. Our advisory board is comprised of C-level executives from the utility and energy industry, providing a valuable resource of knowledge and experience to guide commercialization of emerging technology.