Mitchell Ishmael

Mitchell Ishmael


Active Energy Logo


Project description:  

Active Energy is commercializing a new form of energy storage that is clean, economical, and long-lasting. By harnessing the abundant amount of low-temperature (120-160 °F) waste heat generated onsite by the commercial and industrial sectors, we offer our customers the ability to produce electricity when it is most costly. Recharging during off-peak, our innovations in phase change materials and heat transfer equipment allow us to achieve round-trip electric efficiencies greater than conventional energy storage. As such, we provide low-cost energy storage to producers of low-grade waste heat, capturing hundreds of GWs of unused energy in the US, enabling a cleaner future.

Critical need for this technology:

With our technology, industrial-scale waste heat producers can shift their electricity consumption to off-peak hours, resulting in substantial cost savings. A description of the overall storage process follows: the system is charged, i.e. consuming electricity from the grid, by running our power equipment in a refrigeration mode to create an artificially cold reservoir, freezing our proprietary phase change material (PCM). The system is discharged, i.e. producing electricity, by extracting energy from our customer’s waste heat (120-160 °F). During discharging, the power equipment operates in an electricity generation mode, melting our frozen material in the process. By using waste heat to augment the process’s efficiency, we can recover the losses associated with storage. In fact, when ambient conditions are cool, our storage process generates more electricity than it consumes. Our innovations in low temperature thermal energy storage allow us to leverage commercial power generation and industrial chiller equipment, significantly lowering the installed $/kWh cost and decreasing time to market.

Supplemental needs for this technology:

To incorporate intermittent renewable energy generation, the electric grid must integrate long-duration, MW-scale energy storage. Our system has the potential to be a low-cost, high-efficiency, near-term part of the solution. 


Competing technologies include other forms of distributed storage, such as batteries, as well as modular power generation technologies, such as fuel cells and solar PV.

Potential Market:

Potential markets include: petrochemical production, pulp and paper, food processing, and hyperscale (>10 MW) data centers.

Key Innovation:

Active Energy has engineered a high efficiency phase change material (PCM) heat exchanger. By tuning the composition of the PCM and modifying the heat exchanger surface, the PCM does not foul the surface as it freezes, allowing high heat transfer rates throughout the charging process. 

R&D Status of Product:

Active Energy has designated the phase change material composition and demonstrated the heat exchange proof of concept. Currently we are building a prototype heat exchanger and thermal energy storage system.  

Team Overview:

Mitchell Ishmael, Co-founder

Levon Atoyan, Co-founder

Ivan Beentjes, Co-founder

Grady Iliff, Applied Research Experience (ARE) Fellow


Doug Buerkle, Founding Executive Director, NEXUS-NY

Lee Kestler, Chief Commercial Officer, Vantage Data Centers

Jason Salfi, Chief Executive Officer, Dimensional Energy

Jefferson Tester, Professor, David Croll Chair, Cornell University 

Company Us:

Company Profile:

  • Total Amount Raised: $55k
    • 2016 Cornell Commercialization Fellowship, $5k
    • 2017 NEXUS-NY Clean Energy Seed Accelerator, $50k
  • Status: Private
  • Year Founded: 2017
  • Patents: 2 Provisional patents filed
  • Primary Industry: Energy storage
  • Category: Thermal systems
  • Estimated Annual Revenue: NA
  • Employs: 3
  • Social Challenge: Energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy storage
  • R&D Commercial Collaborator: None