Antora Energy Launches Ready-to-Scale Industrial Decarbonization Technology & Establishes New Ultra-High-Temperature Record

14 September 2023

Antora Energy, a prominent player in the field of zero-carbon heat and power for industrial applications, has unveiled its fully developed thermal battery, ready for scalable deployment. In a groundbreaking achievement, the company has successfully demonstrated a thermal battery capable of storing energy at temperatures exceeding 1,800°C, making it suitable for "hard-to-decarbonize" sectors like cement and steel. This remarkable thermal battery system is currently in operation at the facility of Wellhead Electric Company, Inc. near Fresno, California.

Antora has achieved a significant milestone by creating the world's first thermal battery capable of providing zero-emission heat and power. By showcasing a modular, factory-assembled, commercial-scale thermal battery using cost-effective, readily available materials, Antora has paved a clear path to cost-efficiently decarbonizing the industrial sector, which contributes to 30% of global emissions. This achievement follows Antora's earlier announcement this year of the world's largest production line of thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells, enabling highly efficient heat-to-power conversion without any moving parts.

The majority of emissions in industrial energy production result from the combustion of fossil fuels to generate heat and power, incurring over $1 trillion in annual costs for manufacturers globally. Replacing these fossil fuels with more economical, zero-emission energy presents one of the most significant opportunities for climate action today.

While low-cost electricity generated from wind and solar sources has the potential to compete with natural gas on cost while eliminating emissions, it has traditionally been limited to when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Antora's solution transforms intermittent renewable electricity into a dependable source of industrial heat and power, facilitating the cost-effective decarbonization of heavy industry.

Antora utilizes renewable electricity to heat solid carbon blocks, a cost-effective, widely available, and stable storage medium already used extensively in other industries, to extremely high temperatures within an insulated thermal battery module. This stored heat can then be delivered at the necessary scale and temperatures required by large industrial operations. Furthermore, Antora's thermal battery can efficiently generate electricity using TPV technology, converting stored heat into electricity without the need for moving components. With TPV, Antora has introduced the first energy storage technology capable of addressing the entire industrial energy equation—providing on-demand heat and on-demand power in a cost-effective manner.

The development and construction of Antora's thermal battery were made possible through the support of private investors, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Trust Ventures, Shell Ventures, BHP Ventures, and Overture VC, along with the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), the California Energy Commission (CEC), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Andrew Ponec, Co-founder and CEO of Antora Energy, emphasized the significance of their thermal battery in electrifying the industrial sector rapidly. He stated, "Our product is modular and factory-assembled, so it can be shipped to the customer and easily replicated across facilities of any size. With the demonstration of this landmark system, we’ve proven our product’s readiness to rapidly scale to thousands of industrial sites across the country and around the world."

Antora's system is designed from the ground up to meet the needs of nearly every manufacturer, allowing for the decarbonization of energy loads of any size, temperature, geography, or industry. Key features and capabilities of Antora's system include:

  1. Industrial Heat, Cheaper than Natural Gas: Antora's carbon blocks, which serve as the storage medium, are approximately 50 times cheaper than traditional battery materials, enabling cost-effective heat delivery compared to burning natural gas.

  2. Every Temperature, Every Process: Antora's system is designed to cater to a wide range of temperature requirements in various industrial processes, from low-temperature heat below 200°C to high-temperature heat exceeding 1,000°C, which is vital for sectors such as cement, lime, glass, chemicals, and steel.

  3. Zero-Emissions Heat, Zero-Emissions Power: The intense light emitted by Antora's thermal battery allows for electricity generation with no moving parts, thanks to its breakthrough TPV technology. This innovation enables Antora's thermal batteries to meet all of the manufacturing sector's energy needs, making them competitive with fossil fuels and tapping into a trillion-dollar annual market.

  4. Modular, Manufactured, and Road-Shippable: Antora's modular battery design, similar in size to a shipping container, facilitates factory-based assembly and rapid deployment, minimizing costs and accelerating project timelines.

  5. Fast-Charging for Cost-Effective Electricity Capture: Antora's system can charge faster than conventional battery storage technologies, enabling efficient absorption of renewable electricity from wind and solar sources during periods of abundance.

  6. High Energy Density for Compact Design: Antora's thermal batteries store three times the energy compared to lithium-ion batteries of the same volume, resulting in lower balance-of-plant costs and streamlined installation.

  7. Safety and Reliability: Carbon, the material used in Antora's thermal batteries, is safe and stable, remaining solid at temperatures up to 3,500°C, ensuring a long system lifetime. The carbon used in these batteries is commonly used in fireproofing applications and is non-flammable, even when exposed to high temperatures.

Antora's innovative thermal battery system represents a major step forward in the quest to decarbonize industry and reduce global emissions. It addresses a critical need for reliable and cost-effective zero-emission heat and power solutions in a wide range of industrial applications.