Selection Date: 10/8/2019
The Furthering Advancements to Shorten Time (FAST) Commissioning for Pumped-Storage Hydropower Prize competition seeks novel solutions and technologies that address the non-regulatory challenges PSH developers face when deploying new storage projects and aims to attract ideas to reduce the time, cost, and risk required to commission PSH projects. It is the first of its kind and structured to provide support through full business concept development.
WPTO Prizes and Competitions
Grand Prize Selections
DOE selected four grand prize winners in the competition, which aims to help accelerate commissioning times and reduce cost and risk in PSH projects. Competitors proposed technical solutions to accelerate commissioning times for PSH at today’s Pitch Day event, the final stage of the competition. The grand prize winners were selected from a group of nine concept stage winners, who were given three months and 50 hours of in-kind technical support from the partnering DOE National Laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, to develop their ideas. The four grand prize winners received up to $550,000 in vouchers and cash prizes.
- Reducing PSH Excavation Duration, Cost, & Risk – Tracy Livingston, individual competitor, combined excavation equipment modifications and process optimizations to achieve up to 50% reduction in excavation timelines.
- Accelerating PSH Construction with Steel Dams – Gordon Wittmeyer, Southwest Research Institute, presented a modular steel concept for dams that cuts costs by one-third and cuts construction schedules in half.
- Use of Modern TBMs for Underground Pumped Storage – Doug Spaulding, Nelson Energy and Golder Associates, proposed use of tunnel boring machines for underground excavation, which can decrease excavation time by 50% and reduce costs.
- Modular Closed-Loop Scalable Pump Storage Hydro – Tom Eldredge and Hector Medina, Liberty University, presented a modular closed-loop, scalable PSH system with a capacity range of 1–10 megawatt, adaptable to sites without natural bodies of water.
Concept Stage Winners
Nine winners of the Concept Stage were selected from a field of 22 finalists to move on to the Incubation State of the competition. As part of a $2 million effort, NREL worked with laboratory partners Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to provide 50 hours of in-kind laboratory support for the nine concept winners, below, during the Incubation Stage.
- Tom Eldredge – Liberty University presented a modular closed-loop, scalable PSH system with a capacity range of 1-10 MW, adaptable to sites without natural bodies of water.
- David Gatto – Ames Construction combined several modern construction business acumen and advanced management techniques.
- Tracy Livingston – Individual competitor combined excavation equipment modifications and process optimizations to achieve up to 50% reduction in excavation timelines.
- Nicholas Jaffa – Penn State Applied Research Laboratory developed a pump-turbine concept that is modular, rapidly deployable, scalable, configurable, and operates flexibly to enable distributed low-head PSH.
- Peter Schubert – Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis analyzed the use of existing mine voids for housing hydraulic wind turbines to loft water to provide quickly-commissioned PSH, while tenting the upper lake for non-electric revenues.
- Charlie Smith – Individual competitor analyzed using storm water storage tunnels during non-storm event periods in conjunction with local natural bodies of water for PSH energy generation.
- Doug Spaulding – Nelson Energy proposes use of tunnel boring machines for underground excavation, which can decrease excavation time by 50% and reduce costs.
- Eric Thompson – Southwest Research Institute analyzed promising opportunities for closed-loop PSH in west Texas using interconnected reservoirs, package turbine units, and fracking wastewater.
- Gordon Wittmeyer – Southwest Research Institute presented a modular steel concept for dams that cuts cost by one-third and cuts construction schedules in half.