Summerside to be test site for energy saving system

An engineering student from P.E.I. hopes a device he and some classmates are developing will help people in Summerside save energy and money this summer.

Islander among students behind Stash Energy pilot project

The Stash Energy Storage System banks thermal energy from heat pumps during non-peak hours for usage during peak times to alleviate stress on power grids. (Stash Energy Storage website)

An Islander attending UNB in Fredericton is part of a trio that has come up with a product they say will save energy for later, saving money and helping the environment.

It's called Stash Energy, and the student group has now signed a deal to test their energy storage device in Summerside.

As Daniel Larsen explained to Matt Rainnie on Island Morning, he got the idea in the summer of 2015.

"I was listening to the radio, CBC actually, and Maritime Electric was...talking about some of the issues they were having meeting the peak demand that was happening as people were installing heat pumps to replace their traditional oil-fired heat," he said. "It's an all-new load for them. Traditionally the Island hasn't had that much electric heat, and they were talking about building a new, very expensive generating station."

From left to right, Daniel Larson, Jordan Kennie and Erik Hatfield, the development team behind the Stash Energy Storage system. (Rob Blanchard/UNB Media Services)

He was inspired, along with colleagues Jordan Kennie and Erik Hatfield, to search for a solution.

They worked on a system as their senior design project in their engineering program.

"What we're shooting for is a device that you can connect to your heat pump, kind of in between your heat pump and your radiator, that will allow you to store thermal energy," said Larsen. "So from the outside, it looks kind of like a hot water tank."

Summerside gets pilot project

The company is about to start a pilot program in Summerside.

They approached the city because Larsen had known about some innovative work being done there called Smart Grid, and they agreed to a partnership.

"We'll be installing two of our Stash storage units in a facility that the city owns, and we'll be monitoring them over the next few months," said Larsen. "We'll be looking to see how we can help all the utilities in the Maritimes, and even North America, address their peak usage problems as well."

The first prototype of the Stash Energy Storage system was much larger than the current unit the team has constructed. Developers hope to trim the system's size even further as they refine the product. (Facebook)

The ultimate goal is a product that would have a global market of utility companies.

Larsen said that hinges on the results of the Summerside trial.

"We'd like to demonstrate that we can make use of renewable generation in Summerside, predominantly wind energy, and that we can use that energy to meet the peak demand and decommission more expensive and less environmentally friendly generators," he said.

Larsen calls this year one for the official company, a research and development year. Optimistically, he hopes to start selling some units next year.

From the Matt Rainnie interview on Island Morning