12 Sep 2023
Antora Energy, a leader in zero-carbon heat and power for the industrial sector, has launched its proven, ready-to-scale thermal battery. The company revealed that it has reached the highest temperature that has been demonstrated to date for thermal batteries at full scale, storing energy above 1,800°C—hot enough to address “hard-to-decarbonize” sectors like cement and steel. The landmark thermal battery system is operational at Wellhead Electric Company, Inc.'s facility near Fresno, California.
Antora has developed the world’s first thermal battery capable of delivering zero-emissions heat and power. In demonstrating a modular, factory-assembled, commercial-scale thermal battery using low-cost and earth-abundant materials, Antora has proven a clear path to cost-effectively decarbonizing industry, which accounts for 30% of global emissions. This milestone follows Antora’s announcement, earlier this year, of the world’s largest production line of thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells, unlocking heat-to-power conversion at high efficiencies with no moving parts.
The majority of industrial energy emissions stem from burning fossil fuels to create heat and power, which costs manufacturers over $1T globally every year and is used in nearly every industrial process. Replacing these fossil fuels with cheaper, zero-emissions energy is one of the biggest opportunities in climate today.
Low-cost electricity from wind and solar has the potential to undercut natural gas on cost while reducing emissions to zero—but until now this has been true only when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Antora’s solution converts this intermittent renewable electricity into an always-on, reliable source of industrial heat and power, enabling the cost-effective decarbonization of heavy industry.
Antora uses renewable electricity to heat blocks of solid carbon—a low-cost, earth-abundant, and stable storage medium that’s already used extensively in other industries—to glowing-hot temperatures in an insulated thermal battery module. That stored heat is then delivered at the scale and temperatures that large industrial operations demand. In addition, Antora’s thermal battery can output electricity at breakthrough efficiencies using Antora’s TPV technology, which converts the stored heat directly into electricity with no moving parts. With TPV, Antora has pioneered the first energy storage technology capable of cost-effectively addressing the entire industrial energy equation—on-demand heat and on-demand power.
Antora’s thermal battery was developed and built with support from private investors, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Trust Ventures, Shell Ventures, BHP Ventures, and Overture VC, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
“Antora’s thermal battery is the fastest and lowest-cost path to electrifying the industrial sector,” said Andrew Ponec, co-founder and CEO, Antora Energy. “Our product is modular and factory-assembled, so it can be shipped to the customer and easily replicated across facilities of any size. With the demonstration of this landmark system, we’ve proven our product’s readiness to rapidly scale to thousands of industrial sites across the country and around the world.”
From the ground up, Antora’s system is built to address the needs of nearly every manufacturer—decarbonizing energy loads of any temperature, any size, in any geography, and any industry:
- Industrial Heat, Cheaper than Natural Gas: Low-cost renewable electricity requires low-cost storage materials to compete with always-on, inexpensive fossil fuel energy. Antora’s carbon blocks are ~50x cheaper than traditional battery materials and enable a simple, solid-state design that unlocks heat delivery at a lower cost than burning natural gas.
- Every Temperature, Every Process: Industry requires heat at a wide range of temperatures, from “low-temperature” heat below 200°C to high-temperature heat well above 1000°C (used in sectors such as cement, lime, glass, chemicals, and steel). Antora's system is designed to address virtually all of global industrial heat demand, including up to temperatures above 1500°C.
- Zero-Emissions Heat, Zero-Emissions Power: The light from Antora’s glowing-hot thermal battery is hundreds of times the intensity of sunlight, enabling conversion into electricity with no moving parts using Antora’s breakthrough TPV technology. By delivering both thermal energy and electricity, Antora’s thermal batteries open an opportunity to meet all of the manufacturing sector’s energy needs at costs competitive with fossil fuels, unlocking a trillion-dollar annual market.
- Modular, Manufactured, and Road-Shippable: Antora’s modular battery design—about the size of a shipping container—enables a factory-built, shippable product that accelerates deployment timelines and minimizes costs. The landmark thermal battery unit Antora launched this month was manufactured in Bakersfield, CA, and shipped to the Wellhead site.
- Fast-Charging to Capture Electricity at the Lowest Cost: Antora’s system can charge faster than conventional battery storage technologies, enabling Antora to soak up renewable electricity from wind and solar when it’s abundant and inexpensive. This enables more operational flexibility and ultimately lower energy costs for manufacturers.
- High Energy Density Unlocks Low Costs and Streamlined Installation: Antora’s thermal batteries store three times as much energy as lithium-ion batteries in the same volume, unlocking lower balance-of-plant costs and a smaller footprint that streamlines siting and installation.
- Safe and Reliable: Carbon is a safe and stable material, remaining solid up to 3500°C and enabling a decades-long system lifetime. The carbon used in Antora’s thermal batteries is commonly used in fireproofing applications and does not catch fire—even if you hold a blowtorch to it.
Antora Energy | www.antoraenergy.com