SustainX obtains first energy patent

The Dartmouth

October 11, 2011

By Grace Afsari Mamagani

The Lebanon, N.H.-based company SustainX, which grew out of work conducted at the Thayer School of Engineering, received its first U.S. patent last week for a new energy storage technique, according to SustainX Board Chairman and Thayer Dean emeritus Charles Hutchinson.

The patent is the first to cover claims for “isothermal compressed-air energy storage” technology—a method that maintains air at a constant temperature as it is compressed and expanded, according to Hutchinson. The new technology makes it possible to store electricity without the use of batteries, he said.

“The issuance of this patent is a milestone for SustainX, because it solidifies the commercial position of our core technology—isothermal gas cycling in pneumatic cylinders,” SustainX President and CEO Thomas Zarrella said in a press release.

SustainX’s technique uses electricity to store energy by compressing air in a tank. Electricity can then be retrieved by running the system in reverse to release the air, according to Hutchinson.

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