An Italian company has opened its first huge “CO2 battery” plant that claims to store vast amounts of renewable energy and deliver it quickly to the grid whenever it is needed. Energy Dome states their solution for using CO2 instead of lithium will allow energy storage at a much lower cost than traditional counterparts, and the first grid-level facility is now open to test verify their claims.
The facility will be a huge step towards both 100 percent renewable energy targets and finding a solution for the vast amounts of CO2 produced by industrial and daily processes.
So, how does an Energy Dome work? Carbon dioxide is gaseous at room temperature and pressure, and Energy Dome stores this gas in a huge flexible bladder, creating the dome. To charge the battery, CO2 is extracted from the dome and forced into a compressor, where it places the gas under pressures five times greater than Earth’s atmosphere. Under these conditions, CO2 becomes a liquid, which is stored in pressurized tanks to be used later.
When the energy is needed, the liquid CO2 is heated until it evaporates back into a gaseous form, before being forced through a turbine. Energy is extracted into the grid and the giant bladder refills, ready to be charged again.
The system creates no emissions into the atmosphere, is relatively cost-effective, and is highly efficient owing to a system that captures heat produced during charging and uses it for discharging. According to Energy Dome, this results in around 75 percent efficiency for a round-trip, and the overall system is about half the cost of a lithium solution.
While Energy Dome may not be the cheapest energy storage solution, most other options have the large drawback of releasing energy slowly, making them often react late to times of increased energy demand. The CO2 solution is able to release energy into the grid rapidly.
The first Energy Dome has now been deployed in Sardinia, Italy, where it will undergo final testing before entering their commercial scaling phase.
“I am proud of our dedicated team and of our results. We can now provide an answer to the most pressing issue of our time: climate change,” said Energy Dome Founder and CEO Claudio Spadacini, in a statement.
“Our breakthrough technology, the CO2 Battery, is now commercially available to make cost-effective renewable energy dispatchable on a global scale.”
Energy Dome state they have now signed an agreement to create large storage facilities in Italy, Germany, the Middle East and Africa in the coming years.