Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

What’s Next?

Main content start

A look into the future for new energy technology at Stanford

While Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) is fully operational and has allowed Stanford to exceed state, national, and international goals for greenhouse gas reduction by several decades, the university continues to explore additional enhancements that can further advance efficiency and sustainability, while reducing cost.

Learn more:

Ground / Lakewater Heat Exchange

When possible, the most sustainable solution is harnessing the natural state of the planet to support healthy living systems. Temperatures underground and in the water systems within Stanford are a great opportunity to both recover and reject heat. Stanford is investigating ground and lakewater heat exchange systems to even further enhance its energy performance. Estimates show that the increased efficiency of these systems could further reduce domestic water consumption (8-12%) and significantly reduce the remaining fossil fuel use during winter for heating (except where required for emergency backup).

Battery Storage

Stanford is also investing in new innovations in electricity storage, with a goal to create a distributed electrical storage system across campus. There are many benefits of deploying electricity storage in smaller increments located at various buildings across campus, in place of diesel-fueled emergency power generators.

Unlike stationary building emergency power generators, which due to noise and air pollution regulations cannot be operated except for monthly testing and actual emergencies, batteries can serve as emergency building power supply while also providing services such as grid frequency regulation, unplanned demand response, or planned demand management. If power to a building were interrupted, a distributed electrical storage device (e.g. battery) would provide electricity for critical loads instead of an emergency generator.

Reliability of Transmission Lines

Stanford is currently doing a study of the transmission system in order to improve capacity building and reliability of transmission lines. Stanford experiences very few power outages, and this study will help to ensure reliability and cost savings for the future.  

Satellite Energy Facility

To provide energy for a growing campus, Stanford ultimately will need more capacity to provide electricity, heating and cooling services. To plan for future growth and continuing powering up Stanford’s campus, a brand new state of the art satellite energy facility is in the works, and will be situated right on the main campus. Imagine a smaller, scaled-down version of the Central Energy Facility (CEF) that will help generate hot and chilled water, as well as an electrical substation that can bring an additional 60,000 volts of electricity online! The energy coming from the substation would feed into batteries, and as batteries fill to 100% charge, a smart system would pull from battery storage at the most economical time of day, thus contributing to the sustainability of Stanford’s resources. This provides redundancy to the innovative and increasingly resilient Stanford energy system, as well as an abundance of energy that serves as backup capacity to meet energy needs in case of emergencies. 

These upcoming innovations inspire a bright, sustainable future for Stanford’s energy system. Stay tuned as Stanford keeps innovating and discovering new technologies for scalable, replicable, and reliable energy. If this inspired you to create similar innovations of our current energy system for your own city or organization, check out the You Can Do It Too page, or plan a visit today to the heart of Stanford’s energy system!