Charles Chaloeicheep is confident that a practical alternative to diesel-powered backup generators for buildings is close at hand.
Chaloeicheep, a mechanical engineer and senior associate for built ecology in WSP USA's Honolulu office, is preparing a study, Energy Storage Replacements for Diesel Generators, that will help identify when battery storage is applicable for WSP USA projects and will support the proliferation of power storage on new and existing buildings.
“Although cost is important, the flexibility, reliability, space advantages and maintenance of batteries is superior to diesel generators and can carry the technology through short-term financial challenges,” Chaloeicheep said. “In the long term, we anticipate batteries to drop in cost making the financial argument for diesel generation moot.”
Chaloeicheep, who was recently selected by WSP for a 2017 Research and Innovation Fellowship, credited a team effort for the progress that has been made with the research on battery storage solutions. WSP’s annual Research & Innovation Fellowship Program is designed to foster and accelerate the development and application of bright ideas by providing seed funding and mentoring.
“This idea is something that a few of us at WSP have been working on for a while, including Kevin Luoma in Hawaii, Claire McKenna in San Francisco, Taylor Burdge in Boulder, and Chris Edmonds and Philip Jonat in New York,” he said.
Some clients have already started incorporating this technology into their projects, such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium designed by the San Francisco office. But Chaloeicheep anticipates that interest will grow as it becomes a practical alternative and a more common practice.
“I hope that our research proves fruitful and creates an opportunity for WSP to be at the forefront of this shift in design approach to a small, but important, piece of our buildings.”