Funding breakthrough for Energy Dome

21 February 2024

Energy Dome, developer of CO2-based thermo-mechanical energy storage technology – which it sees as “the only viable alternative for long-duration energy storage today” – has announced funding commitments for its first commercial scale system. To be located in Sardinia, Italy, it is expected to enter operation in Q3 2024.

Above: Rendering of Energy Dome’s first commercial scale CO2 Battery (Source: Energy Dome)

The funding, announced at COP28, will be in the form of a project-level grant commitment of up to €35 000 000 from Breakthrough Energy Catalyst and a €25 000 000 venture debt financing commitment from the European Investment Bank, both subject to meeting funding conditions. The funds are being made available through the EU–Breakthrough Energy Catalyst partnership.

Breakthrough Energy Catalyst (part of Breakthrough Energy, founded by Bill Gates) invests in first-of-a-kind commercial projects involving emerging climate technologies. By investing in these opportunities, Catalyst says it seeks to accelerate the adoption of the technologies worldwide and reduce their costs.

The European Investment Bank financing is backed by InvestEU. The EU aligns capital with Catalyst using funds available from Horizon Europe & Innovation Fund through the InvestEU Program with the European Investment Bank as implementing partner of the European Commission.

Energy Dome sees this combined investment as an endorsement of its “ready-to-be-deployed, long-duration energy storage proposition.” It says its “robust performance (high round-trip efficiency) and capital expenditure requirements are significantly more competitive than the lithium-ion benchmark, providing a solution to the critical problem of utility-scale long-duration energy storage, which is at the core of the renewable energy transition.”

The Sardinia project – location, Ottana – will use a standard frame 20 MW/200 MWh CO2 Battery, which can supply power to the grid for ten consecutive hours. Energy Dome sees it as the first of a series of identical units using the same technology design, allowing it “to unlock cost reductions and accelerate the bankability of future units of the modular, standardised CO2 Battery frames.” The CO2 Battery does not use rare earth metals and its “main components are based on already existing and known supply chains enabling job creation within Europe.”

Gelsomina Vigliotti, EIB Vice-President, described the Energy Dome storage system as “an inspiring example of game-changing technology that we need more of in Europe and worldwide.”

The Ottana CO2 Battery will use a MAN Energy Solutions 20 MW carbon dioxide expander, to be shipped in summer 2024.

Energy Dome and MAN Energy Solutions have recently entered into an MoU with the aim of “exploring the potential for integrating their individual technologies and competencies to further optimise Energy Dome’s CO2 Battery technology.” Claudio Spadacini, CEO of Energy Dome, said: “The combination of MAN Energy Solutions’ advanced turbomachinery know-how with our cutting-edge battery design ensures that anyone considering the adoption of our technology solution can do so with confidence.”

Energy Dome’s technology is based on a closed thermodynamic transformation of CO2 between its gaseous and liquid states. When operating in charge mode, the CO2 is withdrawn from an atmospheric gasholder, the Dome, and compressed in an inter-refrigerated compressor, driven by a motor. The heat generated from the compression is stored in a thermal energy storage system, while the CO2 is liquefied and stored in vessels under pressure at ambient temperature. This enables high-density energy storage without using extreme cryogenic temperatures. In discharge mode – whenever power is needed – the CO2 is heated up, evaporated and sent into an expander before it flows back into the Dome. The expander drives the generator, feeding power to the grid (Source: Energy Dome)
At COP28. Claudio Spadacini, founder and CEO of Energy Dome, and Bill Gates (Photo: Energy Dome)

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