Energy storage is crucial to replacing thermal generation powered by burning coal, oil, or methane with clean, zero emissions renewable energy. A conventional turbine can keep spinning as long as the supply of fossil fuels is available. Renewables stop supplying electricity when the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing. Energy Dome says it has the solution.
In theory, we could build lots of battery storage units except for two things. First, batteries are relatively expensive. Second, batteries can only supply power for about 4 hours. Energy Dome says its system can store energy for up to 10 hours at less than half the cost of lithium-ion batteries. Its first demonstration facility is now operational on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, home to Energy Dome founder Claudio Spadacini.
That plant has confirmed the performance of the CO2 Battery and its ability to store energy for a long duration with highly competitive round trip efficiency without degradation. The Sardinia demonstration project has proven this innovative process using off-the-shelf equipment available from a globally established supply chain, demonstrating that the rapid global deployment of the CO2 Battery is now possible with no bottlenecks.
In a press release, Spadacini says, “I am proud of our dedicated team and of our results. We can now provide an answer to the most pressing issue of our time — climate change. Our breakthrough technology, the CO2 Battery, is now commercially available to make cost effective renewable energy dispatchable on a global scale.”
The Energy Dome CO2 Battery
The Energy Dome battery is a closed system that uses excess renewable energy to compress carbon dioxide until it is condensed into a liquid. The heat from this compression is captured and stored to be used again later, according to Euronews. When it is time to discharge the energy, the stored heat that is used to evaporate the liquid carbon dioxide, which then turns back into a gas which spins a turbine as it returns to the dome. The system only requires steel, carbon dioxide, and some water. The closed loop system generates no emissions.
“Ironically, we use CO₂ to make our system work,” Spadacini says, before adding that it’s only needed to kick start the system, which is designed to last around 30 years. “Our system is fully closed. We add no emissions to the atmosphere. It’s just a black box which is able to charge with the surplus electricity when there is an abundance of it.”
“The CO₂ battery is fully sustainable and fully recyclable,” the inventor says. “We just use steel to produce the CO₂ battery and we use water only once to fill our water tank. We do not use water during the operation of the CO₂ battery and we just use a small amount of CO₂ to charge the battery at the beginning without any consumption of CO₂ during the operation.” Please see the video below for more details.
CleanTechnica readers understand that lithium-ion storage batteries can do some things the Energy Dome battery cannot. They can manage voltage and frequency anomalies in milliseconds, something the Energy Dome and hydroelectric power cannot do. Spadacini says the Energy Dome, at $200 a kWh, is cheaper than lithium-ion battery storage and perhaps it is, but the cost of those batteries is falling over time. Keep in mind that the Energy Dome has a 10-hour storage ability — more than double what most lithium-ion batteries are capable of.
The company says its first full facility, a 20 MW/200 MWh installation, will be in operation on Sardinia by the end of 2023, just in time to help power the island after the two coal-fired generating plants there now are shuttered. Energy Dome has already secured multiple commercial agreements, including with Italian utility A2A for the construction of a first 20MW/100 MWh facility. Earlier this year, it also signed a non-exclusive license agreement with Ansaldo Energia, a major provider of power generation plants and components, to build long duration energy storage projects in Italy, Germany, the Middle East, and Africa.
The criminal assault on Ukraine has made energy security and supply chain integrity much higher priorities than they were just 6 months ago. “To be independent of minerals and rare material is a big advantage from the point of view of energy security, but also in terms of geopolitical stability,” Spadacini says. Amen to that.
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