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Allison Mahvi
September 18, 2023

Mahvi awarded $2.5M from DOE for thermal energy storage solutions

Written By: Caitlin Scott



Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Allison Mahvi was recently awarded a $2.5M grant from the Department of Energy on developing HVAC-integrated thermal energy storage systems.

In the project, Mahvi is collaborating with UW-Madison colleagues Mike Wagner and Morgan Edwards (Public Affairs) to design and test a thermal energy storage (TES) unit that can plug into current HVAC systems, develop models that will help control the HVAC system to minimize carbon emissions, and develop a screening tool to map the potential net benefits of the new system across the U.S. The system should reduce electricity power consumption by up to 50% for four hours during periods of peak demand. The UW team is also working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Purdue University (Dr. Neera Jain), Texas A&M University (Dr. Patrick Shamberger), NETenergy, and Daikin Comfort Technologies North America.

Mahvi shares, “This project is an extension of some of my past work at the NREL looking at how to design thermal energy storage systems and integrate them into different types of HVAC systems.  This is a different configuration which allows us to shift loads in both the summer and winter, and also plugs into an existing type of HVAC system.”

Advancements made with this funding from the Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) funding opportunity will help buildings electrify while improving their energy efficiency and demand flexibility in a cost-effective and equitable manner. This project is part of $46 million in funding released by the DOE in August 2023 for 29 projects across 15 states to develop advanced technologies and retrofit practices for buildings that will benefit occupants and the grid through efficient, affordable, sustainable, and resilient building operation.