A relatively new concept in the energy arena is the concept of ice storage technology. Ice storage technology, also known as thermal energy storage (TES), delivers smart, grid-ready, efficient storage solutions. It does this by freezing water at night, when power demands are lowest, in refrigerator-like boxes and then using that ice during the day, when power demand is highest, for utilization with various cooling operations. By storing energy off-peak, when electricity generation is cleaner, more efficient and more abundant, then delivering it on-peak when it is needed most, represents how NSA is committed to utilizing new and sustainable energy solutions.
This particular solution was appealing because ice storage technology can reduce the size and initial cost of cooling systems, lower energy costs, and reduce maintenance costs. NSA uses this innovative technology to provide a water chilling mechanism for the commercial air-conditioning systems. The melting ice allows the air conditioner to shut down, while the pumps continue to provide cool air by passing the air through the ice storage chambers and into the Heating, Ventilation & Air Condition (HVAC) ducts.
The benefits of ice storage technology are numerous; however, the one benefit that provides the most economic and ecological return is allowing the Agency to avoid some of the peak hours of energy demand. This not only means that the Agency's energy bill is lowered; it also means that less coal-generated electricity is being demanded, thus resulting in a reduction of greenhouse gases.
While NSA continues to reap the benefits of ice storage on a small capacity, it will continue to research other ways and areas to further implement this technology in the future. As with all energy savings technologies, NSA has explored the possibilities of ice storage technology and has implemented it where it has made good business sense.