Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is one of the biggest culprits behind global warming -- and using renewable energy -- converting solar and wind power into electricity or heat to replace burning fossil fuels -- is the obvious solution.
But renewable energy has a reliability problem. Because wind and solar conditions are variable -- and electricity grids need to be stable -- energy supplies need to be backed up with storage systems to accommodate shifts in production.
Energy Dome, an Italian startup company, has a novel system that keeps carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and uses that CO2 as a way to store renewable energy.
“Imagine a system that can store renewable energy with 75% [round-trip-efficiencies] and a cost which is half the cost of lithium. A system that has no degradation over 30 years and that is made of just steel, water and CO2," explained Claudio Spadacini, Energy Dome's chief executive officer.
"Now imagine that that system is made of existing and well-known components that any power plant operator is capable of maintaining and operating, and those components are deployable at GWh scale globally with no bottlenecks on the supply chain or specific site constraints. If you like this idea, stop imagining. Because this is reality, the technology is sorted."
The company claims that it has a pipeline for 9 gigawatt hours of storage across the U.S., Europe, South America, India, and Australia.
That's a massive amount of potential energy storage, which would be paired with an equally massive amount of new renewable energy coming online.
Energy Dome said in a statement that it expects to have its first 20MW to 200MWh frames commercially operational by the end of 2024.
The tech, as TechCrunch explained in an article two years ago, is really really neat.
Energy Dome uses carbon dioxide in a closed-loop cycle that changes from gas to liquid and back again.
When an Energy Dome "battery" uses electricity from the grid or a renewable system to compress CO2 to generate heat. That heat gets stored and the compressed CO2 is captured in a liquid form.
When the battery discharges, the liquid CO2 turns back into a gas, the thermal energy is released, and the release powers a turbine, which drives a generator to create electricity.
The entire process is self-contained so no CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere, according to the company.
To support its growth, Energy Dome has now raised $44 million in new financing from the investment arm of the Italian oil and gas company, Eni, and a host of other investors.
As part of the round, Energy Dome is also expanding into the U.S. as the company joins the rush of startups from around the world angling to grab a piece of the government funding unlocked by the Inflation Reduction Act.
"Our CO2 Battery is ready for the market and, after closing the Series B round, we are ready to guarantee its performance to any customer that is real about getting rid of fossil fuels and substituting with dispatchable renewable energies," Spadacini said.