Energy storage for renewables can be a good investment today - study supported by MIT Portugal

MIT Econ Storage 0A new study by researchers at MIT shows how to evaluate the technology choices available, including batteries, pumped hydroelectric storage, and compressed air energy storage, and demonstrates that even with today’s prices for these technologies, such storage systems make good economic sense in some locations, but not yet in others. The research was just published in the journal Nature Climate Change, it was led by Jessika Trancik, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Assistant Professor of Energy Studies at MIT and counted with the support from MIT Portugal Program.

For this study, the team examined three states: Texas, California, and Massachusetts. They found storage systems make economic sense today in Texas and California but not yet in Massachusetts. They plan to broaden the study to more locations to see if their overall conclusions apply more widely.

“Researchers and practitioners have struggled to compare the costs of different storage technologies,” Trancik explains, “because of the multiple dimensions of cost and the fact that no technology dominates along all dimensions. Storage technologies can only be compared by looking at the contexts in which they are going to be used.” But the study found that regardless of the particular circumstances at a given location, certain features of how electricity prices fluctuate are common across locations and do favor some specific types of storage solutions over others.

Surprisingly, it turned out that despite wide regional variations in the average prices and the amount of variability in demand and pricing, “the best storage technology in one location is also the best in the other,” Trancik says. “This is because of the similarity across locations in the distribution of the duration of electricity price spikes. This pattern likely emerges because of constraints imposed by the daily cycle, and similarities in when people go to work and go home, and generally how they spend their time.”

This work was supported by the MIT Portugal Program, Lockheed Martin, and the SUTD-MIT International Design Center. Jessika Trancik has been collaborating with Portuguese researchers, she has hosted Goncalo Pereira (MIT Portugal Sustainable Energy Systems PhD student in 2015) and has partnered with Carlos Silva (IST) in research soon to be published. Jessica also led a Seed project funded by MIT Portugal "Modeling the Value of Storage for Intermittent Renewable Energy".

Also at MIT News

Building Global Innovators - Final call

The deadline for the 2nd and final call of Building Global Innovators's 7th Edition is almost here , June 5th , 23h59 GMT.

Building Global Innovators (BGI) is a transnational accelerator directed at aspiring entrepreneurs and tech-based startups and/or spin-outs (max. 5 years old), working on a technology based solution to a global problem.  BGI is powered by the unique collaboration of the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE), the MIT Portugal Program, Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, and the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship.

The accelerator invites ambitious entrepreneurs to apply in one of the four areas:

  • Medical Devices & Health
  • IT, Smart Cities & Industry 4.0 solutions
  • Enterprise IT & Smart Data
  • Water Economy

Over the last 6 years, BGI has grown to become one of the 100 leaders in accelerating the companies of tomorrow, by HotTopics 2015. You can check here our portfolio ventures.

What’s in it for You?

  • BGI will accept up to 16 ventures per edition (average over last 6 years: 19 / batch)
  • In-kind support valuated at €1 million: a structured 9-month program with over 1,150 hours of expert mentorship & business developmentper team
  • Acceleration bootcamps at IUL/Lisbon (all teams) and MIT/Boston (selected teams)
  • Continued alumni support for up to 5 years upon graduation
  • 100.000€ venture capital investment for the most promising venture will be awarded by our financial sponsor, Caixa Capital
  • International exposure to the la crème de la crème members of the global entrepreneurial and innovation community.
  • Up to date, 52% of accelerated companies got financed within 18 months. BGI Alumni ventures have raised over 77 Mio Euro in financing (69% from venture capital), created 450 high tech jobs and over 14 Mio Euro in revenues.

Apply here. For any questions This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

BGI 2nd call

MIT Portugal Program showcased at MIT's Open House

MIT Portugal Program showcased successful education, research, and innovation & entrepreneurship activities at MIT’s Open House event on April 23.

MIT's Open House event attracted more than 40,000 visitors to MIT labs and departments, and offered 380 different activities across the campus. The MIT Portugal Program and other MIT Global initiatives were represented at the event, underlining MIT’s global engagement through strategic partnerships. The MIT Portugal Program booth attracted a broad range of visitors interested in learning more about the program and its impact on Portugal. Visitors had the opportunity to engage directly with program representatives, who provided information emphasizing the impact and vibrancy of the program. 

Ana Sofia Silva receives Best PhD Thesis Award from ISASF

Ana Sofia SilvaAna Sofia Silva, MIT Portugal alumna, was distinguished with the Best Thesis Award for her PhD thesis, entitled “Multifunctional nano-in-micro formulations for lung cancer theragnosis”, during the 16th European Meeting of Supercritical Fluids in Essen, Germany, on May 11th. This award is attributed every two years by the International Society for the Advancement of Supercritical Fluids to distinguish the best works developed by recent graduates.

Ana Sofia Silva’s PhD was carried out at FCT-NOVA at the Polymer Synthesis and Processing group, from LAQV-REQUIMTE, under the supervision of Ana Aguiar-Ricardo, Full Professor at the Chemistry Department of FCT-NOVA. The research work was done in collaboration with the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering group from Universidade da Beira Interior (UBI), under the supervision of Ilídio Correia, Assistant Professor at UBI.

ana sofia silva fctunlAna Sofia Silva’s thesis proposes a new therapeutic approach to lung cancer, the most common and leading cause of cancer death in both men and women worldwide. Despite the clinical and technological advances, the majority of patients are lately diagnosed with either locally advanced or metastatic disease. In fact, 86% of the patients with lung cancer die within two years, while only 14% survive for five years.

Ana Sofia Silva explains that the results presented in her thesis “reveal the extraordinary advantages of combining nanotechnology, molecular biology, polymer science, chemical engineering and supercritical fluid technologies, to develop robust and reliable pulmonary delivery systems for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer”.

Ana Sofia Silva Pic2

For this purpose, “nanoparticulated systems with therapeutic and/or diagnosis capabilities were embedded into respirable microparticles to be delivered to the lungs. In order to minimize costs, environmental impact, and eventual toxicity, the particles for pulmonary inhalation engineered during my PhD, were produced using sustainable methodologies like supercritical assisted spray drying (SASD), a process based on supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) technology, an emerging technology exploited at Professor Ana Aguiar Ricardo’s lab”, says Ana Sofia Silva.

After preliminary works for the optimization of such micronized powders, Ana Sofia Silva spent 5 months at MIT, at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Paula Hammond’s lab developing a new approach to lung cancer therapy that combines the newly pulmonary administration mechanism with gene therapy. She developed layer-by-layer nanocarriers comprising a nanolayer of small interference RNA, which is able to knockdown mutated oncogenes by interfering directly with them. The novel powder developed by Ana Sofia Silva was tested in healthy mice in order to assess the biodistribution of the particles. The successful outcomes are truly exciting and provide a potential strategy opening new insights to effective gene therapy in lung adenocarcinoma situations.

European Regional Funds support additional Scholarships under the MIT Portugal Doctoral Programs

NORTE 2020, a financial instrument to support regional development in northern Portugal, has launched a mechanism to support doctoral programs of higher education institutions in the North. Under the scope of this national program, three MIT Portugal programs were distinguished with additional funding for 9 extra scholarships at Partner Universities in the North of Portugal, as follows: 

  • Bioengineering Program: 4 scholarships at Universidade do Minho
  • Sustainable Energy Systems: 3 scholarships at Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto 
  • Transportation Systems: 2 scholarships at Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto

In light of this recent development, the MIT Portugal Program has decided to further extend the deadline for the 1st call to all programs* to May 15th. The application for these scholarships follow the same process as for the 40 PD-F/FCT funded scholarships. All eligible candidates not selected under the PD-F scholarships will be automatically considered the NORTE 2020 scholarships, unless they state otherwise.

The financial support for these scholarships was submitted to ESF – European Social Fund, under Programa Operacional Regional do Norte - Norte2020 and got merit in the evaluation. The submission is now under administrative analysis. The contracting process of the grants is subjected to the signing of the institutional contract with the funding entity.

The announcement is available pdf here . For further information please visit or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

*Deadline is extended for the following Programs and institutions: Bioengineering Systems (FCTUNL/IST-UL/UMinho), Sustainable Energy Systems (FEUP/IST-UL/FCUL/ FCTUC), Transportation Systems (FEUP) and Leaders for Technical Industries (IST-UL/FEUP/UMinho)