Australian thermal energy storage company 1414 Degrees has obtained funding from Australia’s biggest gas producer Woodside Energy to support the further development of its SiBox technology.
SiBox differs from other storage technologies because it can store renewable energy and release it as both heat and electricity, potentially opening up markets in industrial and district heating applications.
SiBox stores thermal energy as latent heat in molten silicon – which has a very high melting point of 1414° Celsius, hence the company’s name. The similarly high energy density of molten silicon means that it can hold much more energy than other phase change materials, delivering maximum energy efficiency.
In a new deal announced on Wednesday, Woodside will contribute up to $2 million for a 1MWh SiBox demonstration module, which will be used to validate the technology under a variety of operating conditions in laboratory furnaces before moving to a commercial scale 75MWh multi-module project.
Woodside will have the opportunity to partner with 1414 Degrees on jointly developing and commercialising the SiBox technology.
“This is positive news for 1414 Degrees,” said 1414 Degrees CEO Matt Squire. “This partnership with Woodside, is a vote of confidence in our SiBox renewable energy storage,” which he said is a simpler solution than hydrogen.
“Our core belief is that renewable electricity is now a necessity and will only grow in abundance. Our focus on storing this electricity and delivering renewable heat will offer long term solutions to decarbonising as well as compelling returns to shareholders.”
1414 Degrees is continuing work on the Aurora Energy Project in Port Augusta, which it bought in late 2019 after the collapse of US solar developer SolarReserve, and where the storage technology may be deployed.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.