Utility and power generation company Enel Group and Brenmiller Energy have inaugurated a thermal energy storage system in Italy using the latter’s proprietary bGen technology.
Israel-based Brenmiller’s energy storage unit has been deployed at a power plant in Santa Barbara, Tuscany, and will help the plant to use renewable energy, by enabling reduced start-up times and greater speed in load variations.
The system charges by heating rocks using steam from the facility, and discharges by releasing the accumulated heat to heat pressurised water and generate steam for electricity. It can store up to 24MWh of heat energy at 550°C for five hours.
“Our TES (thermal energy storage) system at Enel’s Santa Barbara power plant in Tuscany is the first-ever system of its kind to provide utility-scale thermal energy storage and offers commercial and industrial users a viable path towards decarbonisation,” said Avi Brenmiller, Chairman and CEO of Brenmiller Energy.
The partnership between Enel and Brenmiller was first announced in 2018, when the pair announced they were exploring the possibility of deploying a 60MWh system at an Enel site, covered by Energy-Storage.news at the time.
Enel also announced at the time it was exploring a deployment with another thermal energy storage firm, EnergyNest, but no concrete project has been revealed since then. Since then, EnergyNest raised €110 million to commercialise its thermal battery technology.
The Israeli Innovation Authority provided €1 million in financing to Brenmiller for the project with Enel. The unit deloyed is much larger in scale than the last project that Brenmiller announced, a 1MWh system in Brazil for water infrastructure firm Fortlev which it revealed in August.
The firm expects to have an annual production capacity of 4,000MWh by the end of 2023 from its facility in Dimona, Israel.
Brenmiller is one of several firms to have made progress in launching grid-scale energy storage systems using heat-based technologies. Others include EnergyNest, MGA Thermal, Malta Inc and Kyoto Group. Click here to read more about developments in the thermal energy storage sector.
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