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Published April 17, 2023
University of Wyoming doctoral student Rami Alloush, of Damanhour, Egypt, was named the winner of the Energy Vault Student Competition hosted by the UW School of Energy Resources (SER).
Sponsored by Energy Vault, the student competition is designed to identify potential new methods of hydrogen storage and to provide examples of current research or companies exploring such methods. Energy Vault is a leading energy storage technologies company with solutions for short, long and extra-long duration.
“Energy Vault’s mission is to identify, develop and bring to the market the most economic and sustainable energy storage solutions,” says Daniel Han, the company’s senior product manager. “We have recently announced a project with PG&E in northern California where we will install an extra-long duration energy storage system based on a combination of Li-ion batteries for fast response -- one hour -- with a green hydrogen storage system to provide at least an additional 47 hours of storage. In this way, the local community will have a backup system for at least 48 hours, a breakthrough for a microgrid system.”
The student competition was created to support that mission, he adds.
“Our goal to meet the needs of our customers includes identifying new economic and sustainable solutions that maximize the financial and environmental value of our customers’ energy assets,” Han says. “The chance to deploy energy storage technologies through the use of hydrogen and batteries comes with the opportunity to introduce fresh ideas and bright minds already immersed in the field. We are excited to be working with the University of Wyoming on this competition.”
Alloush was the recipient of a $5,000 prize for taking top honors.
A doctoral candidate of petroleum engineering in UW’s Center of Innovation for Flow Through Porous Media, Alloush is supervised by Wyoming Excellence Chair Mohammad Piri, a UW energy and petroleum engineering professor. Alloush is part of the nanocondensation team investigating the phase behavior and storage of CO2, hydrogen and hydrocarbons in nanopores.
His presentation provided a thorough examination of current hydrogen storage methods; new and emerging hydrogen storage technologies; and recommendations for the most feasible pathways forward based on the economic applicability and potential growth for the future.
“I would love to thank Energy Vault and SER for the great opportunity and the generous prize. The whole experience has been very educational and enlightening,” Alloush says. “Additionally, I am so grateful for Professor Piri’s continuous support and encouragement.”
Students in the competition were judged on the commercial relevance of their research; breadth of the scope provided from end-to-end technology; and presentation presence.
Other teams and individuals competing were:
-- Madison Brigham, of Star Valley Ranch, and Drew Rone, of Casper. Brigham is currently completing her first year in the UW College of Law, while Rone is in the Master of Business Administration Program in the UW College of Business.
-- Sheida Sheikheh, a Ph.D. student in the UW Department of Energy and Petroleum Engineering, from Oshnavieh, Iran.
-- The team of Moustafa Aly, of Suez, Egypt; Omar Elkhatib, of Giza, Egypt; and Alvinda Sri Hanamertani, from Bandung, Indonesia. All three students are doctoral students in the UW Department of Energy and Petroleum Engineering.
“We would like to thank Energy Vault for investing in our students,” says Scott Quillinan, SER senior director of research. “Sponsored student competitions are a great way for our brilliant students to use their skills and expertise, think outside of the box and help members of the industry find solutions to real challenges. We are so proud of the students from across multiple disciplines who were able to showcase their abilities, and we offer our congratulations to all of the competitors.”