Trane and Ice-Based Energy Storage Company CALMAC Join Forces

Ice energy storage system tanks. Credit: CALMAC

Commercial thermal energy storage just got a boost. Ingersoll Rand’s HVAC and building management systems brand Trane acquired CALMAC Corporation, a privately-held manufacturing company based in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, that specializes in ice-based energy storage technologies.

CALMAC’s IceBank ice storage tanks work with Trane’s commercial HVAC systems to alleviate pressure from the energy grid, the companies explain. These tanks store energy using ice much like a battery, using that energy to then cool commercial buildings during peak times.

“This reduces the strain on utilities, reduces operating costs for building owners, and allows for better use of renewable forms of energy,” according to a joint statement from CALMAC and Trane.

More than 4,000 businesses and institutions worldwide use CALMAC’s thermal energy storage to cool their buildings. CALMAC says its customers include DuPont, Kohl’s, IBM, JC Penney, Marriott Hotels, McDonald’s, Siemens, and Walmart. Several prominent buildings in the United States have IceBank tanks, including Ingersoll Rand’s North America headquarters building in Davidson, North Carolina.

Fossil fuels are forms of “stored” energy, whereas renewables are just the pure energy, Mark MacCracken, chief executive officer of CALMAC, told Energy Manager Today. “Massive amounts of energy storage will be needed for large scale reduction in carbon emissions,” he says. “Thermal energy storage is by far the proven, low hanging fruit in this arena.”

Thermal storage systems are energy efficient and reduce peak energy usage by roughly 35% by decreasing need for carbon-emitting peak plants, Trane and CALMAC say in a press release.

In September, CALMAC published a case study showing that a bio-pharmaceutical company in Northern California used ice to decrease energy costs for its 235,000 square-foot mixed-use industrial building by 56%.

Earlier this year Navigant Research named Trane one of the top 10 HVAC vendors based on criteria that included vision, market strategy, partners, and pricing.

Ice is increasingly being viewed as an effective medium for energy storage. On the whole, the thermal energy market is predicted to grow significantly over the next few years. Transparency Market Research predicted that it would expand to $1.8 billion in 2020.

Vendors mentioned above:

  • Ingersoll Rand’s Trane
  • CALMAC
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