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Ice Energy's newest ice-based AC system is aimed solely at residential market

Ben Welter - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Earlier this year, Ice Energy launched the Ice Bear 20, a smaller version of the commercial-scale Ice Bear 30 thermal energy storage system. Next year, the Glendale, Calif., company plans to introduce the Ice Cub, a still-smaller system aimed solely at the residential market.

Rendering of Ice Cub thermal storage system.The Ice Bear 30, designed for large industrial and commercial buildings, connects to existing air-conditioning units, chilling the air that pumps through the AC compressor. The Ice Bear 20, designed for large residential and light industrial buildings, completely replaces AC units, as will the new Ice Cub, shown at right. 

All three units are designed to cut energy costs by producing ice during off-peak hours and storing it in an insulated tank. During peak hours, the stored ice delivers three to four hours of cooling, reducing the typical peak load by 95 percent. The Ice Cub can switch from conventional AC to using the ice to cool a house for at least three hours. During that time no electricity is needed to chill the air.

Here's how the two residential-scale products compare: 

Product Ice Cub (Ice Bear 10) Ice Bear 20
Storage capacity 10 T-hours 20 T-hours
Ice cooling runtime 3+ hours @ 2.5-3T 4 hours @ 5T
Charge time @ 75°F 4 hours using a 3T compressor 7.5 hours
Peak power reduction 95% 95%
Daily kW-h offset 28 kW-h (up to 2 melts
per day)
28 kW-h
SEER >14 14 (estimated)
Modes of Operation Ice Cooling & DX Cooling plus Heating Ice Cooling & DX cooling (heating in development)
Applications Residential Light Commercial & Residential
Configuration Heat pump plus separate TES All-in-one
(L x W x H)
High Efficiency Engine:
40” x 22” x 58”

Mid Efficiency Engine:
26” x 26” x 44”

Tank: 69.5” x 26” x 44”
79” x 47.5” x 47.5”

Initial sales efforts will be focused on California, but the unit will be available "anywhere people want it," said Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins. He said the base price is likely to be close to that of a high-efficiency air conditioner, about $5,000 installed. But with money from California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program, the price will be closer to that of a conventional AC, perhaps less, depending on production scale. A typical household paying time-of-use rates, Hopkins tells Greentech Media, would save $500 a year on its electric bill. 

The company is now taking orders for the Ice Cub, which will be manufactured in New York at a plant that can make 1,000 Ice Cubs a month, Hopkins said. He said Ice Energy will be able to keep costs down thanks to Danfoss, a Danish heating and cooling parts maker that has agreed to supply manufacture-ready components.

Danfoss has "been very helpful," Hopkins said, "and we like the quality of their parts. Their hope is that they will be our primary parts supplier when this product takes off. However, there is no exclusivity."


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