Active Energy Systems (AES), a member of Cohort 1 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, just received some really good news in the form of a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Science Foundation. The dollar amount is just under one million dollars.
Mitch Ishmael, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, was obviously excited in sharing the news. “It allows us to accelerate and build a commercial scale system that will be impactful for our customers and the environment,” he said.
The ice thermal energy storage system that AES has developed is powered by icephobic heat exchange technology. Working with HVAC manufacturers and end-users, Ishmael says the company will use the new federal funding to “build case studies to show the economic, environmental, and resiliency benefits of these systems. By preventing freezing water from sticking to the ice-making surface, AES can improve the cooling energy efficiency by 20 percent and lower system lifetime cost by two thirds, compared to traditional thermal storage systems. Through this award, AES will build and test a glycol-based IHEX-enabled thermal storage system for process cooling applications such as pasteurization and mushroom farming.
AES was one of the three start-ups that helped launch the “Innovation Crossroads” program. After they graduated in 2019, Ishmael, who grew-up in the community, and one of the other cohort members – Anna Douglass of SkyNanoLLC – remained in the region to continue growing their tech-based companies.