Carbon dioxide might finally be turned into an ally when it comes to dealing with climate change. Italian startup Energy Dome says that its CO2 battery system can store energy far better than lithium ones while also capable of handling a huge load demand.
The Milan-based company is building a pilot plant somewhere on the island of Sardinia, Italy. It will be a 2.5Mwe and 4MWh prototype, but will be expanded once proven successful. The facility will use components of 25MW and 100MWh or 200MWh to prove its readiness for the market. Operations will commence in early 2022.
CO2 Battery – The Future Of Storing Renewable Energy
The goal is to create an alternative battery for utility-scale energy storage with various applications. It was conceived for developing a solution that would not only be technologically feasible but would also overcome the limitations of current battery technologies, especially lithiums. In particular, the battery should pose no fire risks, be manufactured without the need for rare earth materials, and also have better performance while staying cost-effective. It should also have an anticipated lifetime of up to 25 years or more.
The battery charges by turning condensed carbon dioxide into liquid form. The heat emitted will be stored in thermal storage systems. As the CO2 expands, it is released back into gas form by heating the thermal storage systems. The CO2 gas flows thru a turbine to release power, before being pushed back into the dome, ready for another charging cycle.
A Modular System
The startup added that the CO2 battery can be modular and scalable to any size required to meet various industrial demands. This means that clients can choose the most appropriate discharge and charge rate depending on their applications. As for the dome, depending on the MWh capacity, it can be larger or smaller, or multiple for capacities above 200MWh.
It can even become a vital component of the electricity network to store renewable energy to provide necessary services to the grid.
On its website, the startup claimed that the technology has a lower cost than both liquid-air energy (LAES) storage and compressed-air energy storage (CAES). This is because unlike the former which needs equipment to cool air until it liquefies, or the latter which requires a vast underground salt cavern to store large volumes of air, the CO2 at its liquid phase can be stored at ambient temperature.
The CO2 battery is believed to offer a Levelized Costs of Storage for as low as US$50-60 – far cheaper than lithium batteries. Besides, the technology has an overall efficiency of 75-80% which is higher than any storage system currently available on the market, including compressed-air, liquid-air, and gravity-based solutions.
But in an increasingly fast-paced market, it’s reported that Energy Dome’s technology might not be the cheapest energy storage system once it’s out.