Ice Energy: Power-Saving Ice Batteries
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Ice Energy: Power-Saving Ice Batteries

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Joseph Draper, Executive Chairman, Ice EnergyJoseph Draper, Executive Chairman
It seems like America’s love for air-conditioner (AC) is sealed for eternity with the increasing number of ACs getting installed in the country’s households and commercial buildings. However, as an anonymous quote says, “excess of anything is harmful,” so the increasing ACs is overburdening the electrical grids by demanding surfeit electricity to power it—escalating planet-warming carbon emissions. According to Energy Saver—U.S. Department of Energy's consumer resource on saving energy and using renewable energy technologies at home—air conditioners use about six percent of all the electricity produced in the U.S., at an annual cost of about 29 billion dollars. As a result, approximately 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere each year, affecting the ozone layer of the atmosphere. In the wake of these concerns, Ice Energy, the distributed thermal energy solutions is developing Ice Bear—thermal energy storage for air conditioning machines that lowers 90 percent of the peak-time electricity cost and proportionally reduces carbon emissions.

How is this possible? Well, it’s because of the company’s simple yet ingenious technology. When power companies’ electricity prices are low, which is usually in the night, the Ice Bear freeze water in a specially-designed leak-proof reservoir, drawing the low-cost electricity and storing it in the form of ice. The ice then acts as a battery for the air conditioning unit. During the day when the electricity prices are high, the Ice Bear uses a low energy pump to transfer the AC coolant through the ice to produce cool air, temporarily terminating the usage of power-hungry AC compressor, thereby substantially minimizing the usage of electricity. Eventually, the chill air is then distributed via a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.


The Ice Bear reduces consumption of expensive electricity and can save homeowners as much as 1500 U.S. dollars a year on their utility bill

When the world is stained with the use of expensive chemical batteries, Ice Energy’s bona fide ice battery is simply fostering green energy at less than half the lifecycle cost of lithium-ion batteries, used for comparable applications. Moreover, the ice batteries come equipped with a smart-grid controller and bi-directional communications to give utilities real-time visibility and control. The California-based company’s Ice Bear series is designed to seamlessly integrate with residential, commercial and industrial air conditioning units. Having said this, Ice Bear 20, one of the Ice Bear series product, is premeditated to bolster medium to large size homes’ air conditioning unit. It integrates with both ductwork and ductless mini-split systems of a house and its ice battery provides four hours of cooling, consuming only five percent of electricity usually required. Another Ice Bear series product, Ice Bear 40 connects with 4-20 tons of commercial and industrial AC units and provides 6 hours of cooling consuming the same amount of electricity as Ice Bear 20. The robust flexibility of Ice Bear 40 allows it to be installed on the roof or ground with the help of an Ice Energy certified local AC contractor.

Talking about the conventional AC units in California becoming increasingly expensive to operate, Joseph Draper, Executive Chairman of Ice Energy, says, “The Ice Bear reduces consumption of expensive electricity and can save homeowners as much as 1500 U.S. dollars a year on their utility bill.” The award-winning company recently completed its first phase of the largest installation of its Ice Bear systems in the U.S., under a 21.6 MW energy storage contract with Southern California Edison (SCE). Under the two-year deployment project with SCE, Ice Energy is striving hard to put more than 1,200 Ice Bear systems into operation. Since 2005, over 40 utilities have been using Ice bears to manage their customers' air conditioning load without compromising comfort. Moreover, by lowering carbon dioxide emissions up to 40 percent and nitrogen oxides emissions up to 56 percent, the company is revolutionizing the air conditioning methodologies.