Energy Dome ($167M to develop CO2 battery for renewable energy storage)

Energy Dome, an Italian cleantech company founded in 2020, develops innovative long-duration energy storage solutions based on a thermodynamic transformation of CO₂ in a closed thermodynamic process to provide electricity storage at low cost, with unprecedented round-trip efficiency and without emissions. Energy Dome's CO₂ battery can store renewable energy over long periods and discharge it rapidly, making renewable energy dispatchable. In addition, the CO₂ battery costs less than half as much as large lithium batteries.

Challenges: Grid-scale storage

What is grid-scale storage?

Grid-scale storage refers to energy storage systems that are designed to provide large-scale energy storage for electric power grids. These systems are used to store excess energy generated during periods of low demand, such as at night, and release that energy during periods of high demand, such as during the day.

Wind turbines produce clean electricity in Austria.
Wind turbines produce clean electricity in Austria.

Grid-scale storage systems can be used to store energy from a variety of sources, including renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. This is important because renewable energy sources can be intermittent, meaning that they generate energy only when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. By storing this energy, grid-scale storage systems can help to ensure that renewable energy sources can be used to meet demand at all times, even when the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining.

Grid-scale storage plays an important role in the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, providing important system services that range from short-term balancing and operating reserves, ancillary services for grid stability and deferment of investment in new transmission and distribution lines, to long-term energy storage.

Grid-scale storage technologies

Numerous energy storage technologies are suitable for grid-scale applications, and their characteristics differ.

Pumped-storage hydropower is the most widely used storage technology for grid-scale storage, and it has significant additional potential in several regions. The efficiency of a hydroelectric pumping storage system is high, with a generation efficiency of about 90%. This means that only 10% of the energy stored in an upper reservoir is lost when the water passes through the turbines to generate electricity. Pumped-storage hydropower is the most widely deployed storage technology today, with total installed capacity standing at around 160 GW in 2021, accounting for 2.5% of global installed capacity and 99% of the total capacity of energy storage facilities.

Batteries are a promising technology for grid-scale energy storage, as they can provide fast response times and high energy density. Their market has seen strong growth in recent years. The current market for grid-scale battery storage in the United States and globally is dominated by lithium-ion chemistries.

Other storage technologies include compressed air, flywheel energy storage, supercapacitor, and gravity storage, but they play a comparatively small role in current power systems. However, these technologies have the potential to play a larger role in the future as the demand for grid-scale storage increases.

Grid-scale storage challenges

There are some of the key challenges of grid-scale storage in terms of cost, technical limitations, integration with the grid, and environmental concerns.

The upfront costs of building large-scale energy storage facilities can be high, which may make it difficult to justify investment in some cases. Additionally, the cost of batteries, which are commonly used in grid-scale storage, has been declining in recent years, but it is still relatively high compared to other forms of energy storage.

There are several technical limitations associated with grid-scale storage, including the fact that many forms of energy storage have lower energy density than fossil fuels, which means that more physical space may be required to store the same amount of energy. Additionally, there are limitations in terms of the ability of some forms of storage, such as batteries, to provide energy over long periods of time.

Integrating grid-scale storage with existing electricity grids can be challenging, as it requires careful coordination between energy storage facilities, generators, and the grid itself. This is particularly true when it comes to managing fluctuations in energy supply and demand.

Some forms of grid-scale storage, such as large-scale hydroelectric facilities, can have significant environmental impacts. It is important to carefully consider the environmental implications of different storage technologies before implementing them at scale.

Energy Dome Technology

Energy Dome has developed an innovative energy storage technology based on closed cyclic thermodynamic transformations (TTC) of carbon dioxide (CO₂), known as CO₂ battery. During charging, the CO₂ battery uses renewable energy to power a compressor that compresses gaseous CO₂ stored in a casing at ambient temperature and pressure. The compressed CO₂ becomes a liquid that is stored in a tank with a pressure over 60 bar. The thermal energy that is released during the compression process is stored for use in the discharging process.

During discharge, liquid CO₂ from the tank is heated using thermal energy previously stored. The expanded gaseous CO₂ fluid drives the rotation of turbines to generate electricity. The gaseous CO₂ returns to the casing for the next cyclic thermodynamic transformation.

Energy Dome’s CO₂ battery is a promising technology for grid-scale energy storage due to its high round-trip efficiency, stability, and low cost, without carbon emissions.

Energy Dome CO₂ battery

The diagram below depicts the CO₂ battery system of Energy Dome.

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