By Michelle Lewis – @michelle0728
Italian startup Energy Dome yesterday (June 8) announced the launch of the world’s first CO2 battery in Sardinia, Italy. The battery uses carbon dioxide to store renewable energy on the grid, and Energy Dome says the technology can be quickly deployed anywhere in the world.
World’s first CO2 battery
Energy Dome sited the CO2 Battery in Sardinia to favor speed to market and ease of execution, as it’s in an industrial area with an existing electrical connection. Further, Sardinia currently uses coal, but the fossil fuel will be phased out by 2025. The battery can be paired with both wind and solar.
Energy Dome began its operations in February 2020 and has progressed from a concept to full testing at multimegawatt scale in just over two years.
Energy Dome Founder and CEO Claudio Spadacini said:
The CO2 Battery is now commercially available to make cost-effective renewable energy dispatchable on a global scale.
Energy Dome asserted that its CO2 Battery facility in Sardinia uses off-the-shelf equipment available from a globally established supply chain, and said that rapid global deployment of the CO2 Battery is now possible without bottlenecks.
The company has secured multiple commercial agreements, including one with Italian utility A2A for the construction of the first 20 MW-5h facility. Earlier this year, Energy Dome also signed a nonexclusive license agreement with Ansaldo Energia, a power generation plant and component provider, to build long-duration energy storage projects in Italy, Germany, the Middle East, and Africa.
Energy Dome’s plan is backed by investors that include European deep tech venture capital firm 360 Capital, Barclays, Novum Capital Partners, and Third Derivative.
How the CO2 Battery works
CO2 is one of the few gases that can be condensed and stored as a liquid under pressure at ambient temperature, so, as Energy Dome states on its website, it’s the perfect fluid to store energy cost-effectively in a closed thermodynamic process. It allows for high-density energy storage without the need to go to extremely low temperatures.
Spadacini explained how it works to Bloomberg in May:
To charge the battery, we take CO2 at near atmospheric temperature and pressure and we compress it. The heat that is generated during compression is stored. When we exchange the thermal energy with the atmosphere, the CO2 gas becomes liquid.
To generate and dispatch electricity, the liquid CO2 is heated up and converted back into a gas that powers a turbine, which generates power. The CO2 gas is always contained and the entire system is sealed.
We don’t use any exotic materials. The technology uses steel, CO2 and water. So there is no dependency on rare earth materials like cobalt or lithium. This makes our technology geopolitically independent. It can be produced everywhere and it can be used everywhere.
Energy Dome made a short video last year demonstrating how its CO2 energy storage works:
Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out her personal blog.