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Steffes awarded patent for technology to store renewable energy

Dickinson-based Steffes Corp. was awarded a patent last week for technology that helps water heaters and other appliances store renewable energy like wind and solar.

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Steffes the patent Aug. 12 for the "GETS Dynamic Dispatch" energy storage system.

"The power generation system in the country has a hard time generating just enough energy for the need," said Tom Steffes, product development manager for the company's off-peak heating division. "And anytime the needs aren't in perfect synchronization with generation, you have problems. You either have to waste energy or you have to turn things off."

The technology, which is added to what Steffes Corp. already manufactures, would provide the "perfect synchronization between generators," Steffes said.

With more and more wind energy coming from North Dakota, the company is expecting more business locally soon, said Jim Deichert, division manager for electric thermal storage products.

"Wind doesn't blow all the time. It changes speed and the amount of generation changes rapidly because of that," Deichert said. "Having this technology in place will allow you to better utilize your wind generation systems."