University of Utah’s mechanical engineering professor, Kent Udell and metallurgical engineering professor Z. Zak Fang, presented their thermal battery project at the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) energy innovation summit held in Washington D.C. February 24-26, 2014. The summit is the premier event dedicated to transformative energy solutions.

US News notes,  “Using metal hydrides – made from magnesium, titanium and other materials – the thermal battery draws excess power from other sources, such as power outlets or truck exhaust, to efficiently generate heating and air-conditioning. Fang said the battery could prove especially useful for long-haul truck drivers, who normally leave their trucks idling overnight so they can sleep with heating or air-conditioning. The battery, having already built-up a charge from the vehicle’s engine while driving, would be ready to emit warm or cool air with just the click of a button, without having to keep the truck’s motor running.” US News full article.

“This gives us all independence in the way we deal with our energy,” said Udell. “We can store our energy when it’s inexpensive and cheap and we can use it when it is valuable for us.” ABC 4 News TV Report (aired March 3, 2014)

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees are unique because they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy. More about the ARPA-E energy innovation summit

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah is committed to providing students with broad-based, rigorous and progressive education.  By combining state-of-the-art facilities with renowned faculty, the department provides an education that gives students the necessary skills to become the next generation of innovators.