Masdar Institute Collaborates with Norwegian Firm NEST AS for Energy Storage Technology

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 09 April, 2014 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, and NEST AS, a Norwegian company developing large-scale thermal energy storage (TES) technology, today jointly announced they have signed an agreement to build a TES pilot at the ‘Beam Down’ facility in Masdar City.

Masdar Institute is one of the very few universities in the world to own a ‘Beam Down’ solar concentrator – a 100 kWth concentrated solar power (CSP) pilot plant. The specific lay-out of the ‘Beam-down’ concentrator allows researchers to investigate alternatives to employ solar energy in a more accessible way, either by placing the chemical reactor or solar thermal receiver at the base of the tower on the ground. Masdar Institute is transforming the ‘Beam Down’ facility into a platform for development of TES systems, concentrated solar power (CSP) components, and related activities.

The NEST energy storage pilot project, which will also serve as a platform for TES research at Masdar Institute, will be the first pilot to prove the feasibility and demonstrate the advantages of the new TES system in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Work is set to commence during the second quarter of 2014.

Through the partnership, both Masdar Institute and NEST, which has developed a modular, scalable system for high temperature thermal energy storage, aim to demonstrate cost-effective, flexible and scalable solutions for the global renewable energy sector. The project will be supervised by Associate Professors Dr. Matteo Chiesa and Dr. Peter Armstrong, and Assistant Professor Dr. Nicolas Calvet from Masdar Institute, in addition to Professor Pål G. Bergan, Dr. Christopher J. Greiner and Andreas Mørkved from NEST.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The collaboration project will revitalize our Beam Down research facility and create a well-known Masdar Institute Solar Platform for the development of solutions for high temperature solar energy storage. With the support of the UAE’s leadership, we continue to seek partnerships with pioneering companies across the world that have expertise in energy storage technologies. We believe the agreement between Masdar Institute and NEST will create benefits for the entire global community.”

Øivind Resch, CEO of NEST, said: “In today’s renewable energy scenario, it is important for CSP plants to be combined with effective heat storage. The NEST storage technology offers significant potential for commercial use and we hope the TES pilot with Masdar Institute will bring about the necessary advancements in research.”

NEST has developed an innovative and smart solution for the energy storage challenge, and has devised a novel system for storage of thermal energy at high temperatures. Its proprietary technology is directed at power generation plants and energy storage projects for the electrical and district heating/cooling utilities market. It is particularly relevant for CSP plants and electricity energy storage for integration of fluctuating renewable energy sources.