2024 Final Competition Winner – Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Presenting Team Members:

Rebekah Shields – Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering

School: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Challenge: Keepin’ it Cool (or Hot)

Problem Definition: This challenge focuses on developing an innovative solution for thermal energy storage for buildings to optimize energy utilization, enhance sustainability, and increase resilience. The solutions could involve (but are not limited to) integration of materials, systems, and controls for the storage and release of energy.

Project Title: KILN TES

Solution: This proposal focuses on conceptualizing, developing, and implementing a thermal energy storage (TES) system to optimize energy consumption and minimize costs. The report is divided into two parts: the first delves into understanding the theoretical foundations and operational mechanics of the TES system, while the second proposes a practical solution involving modification of high-temperature kilns using refractory bricks submerged in sand. It discusses economic feasibility, implementation strategies, stakeholder engagement, and highlights the system’s potential in energy conservation and cost reduction, emphasizing its positive environmental impact by reducing dependency on fossil fuels. This proposal offers a cohesive narrative detailing the conceptualization, practical implementation, and potential impact of the novel TES system, providing insights into its benefits and its relationship with energy efficiency and economic feasibility.