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EU-Breakthrough Energy partnership invests €60 million in long-duration CO2 Battery project in Italy

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Energy Dome, the startup commercialising a proprietary carbon dioxide-based long-duration energy storage (LDES) tech called the CO2 Battery, has secured investment into a grid-scale project.

The new investment commitments total €60 million (US$65.37 million) and will be used towards Energy Dome’s first 10-hour duration commercial project, which will be 20MW output with 200MWh storage capacity in Sardinia, Italy.

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The investors are Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, a sustainable energy tech venture capital platform funding large-scale demonstration projects and investing in first-of-a-kind commercial-scale projects, and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

As might be inferred from the name, Breakthrough Energy Catalyst is part of the Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy group. The platform is providing a project-level grant worth €35 million. The European Union’s EIB has committed the remaining €25 million in Venture Debt financing.

The funding is being made available through a direct partnership between the EU and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, and is subject to certain conditions being met.

‘Cheaper than lithium-ion’

The Italy-headquartered startup has developed a so-called CO2 Battery thermo-mechanical storage device in which carbon dioxide (CO2) is adiabatically compressed and then liquefied to charge with energy, then evaporated to dispatch it. Heat created during the process is also stored, and when the system discharged, used to expand the evaporating CO2, which then drives a generator.

A 2.5MW/4MWh commercial demonstration project is already in operation in Sardinia, having gone online in mid-2022 after a construction phase that took just over a year. The new project will also be located in Sardinia.

Energy Dome called the new investment “an endorsement” of its “ready-to-be-deployed, long-duration energy storage proposition,” in an announcement sent to media including Energy-Storage.news.

Energy Dome claims its CO2 Battery can be delivered cheaper than many alternative long-duration technologies and can be even cheaper than lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries at scale, made using abundant materials and manufactured using a combination of processes and even components already used in established industries.  

“As the EU climate bank, the EIB is committed to building public and private partnerships to support the development of disruptive green energy technologies and to enable these to grow to scale in the short-term,” EIB vice-president Gelsomina Vigliotti said, calling the CO2 Battery “an inspiring example of game-changing technology that we need more of in Europe and worldwide”.

While it can do short-duration applications and multi-day applications as well, the technology’s intended sweet spot is energy shifting over 8-hour to 24-hour durations, Energy-Storage.news heard in an interview with Energy Dome SVP for strategy, corporate development and investor relations Ben Potter earlier this year.

At that time, Potter said CapEx required for the first 20MW/200MWh project would be in the order of “under 50% of a 4-hour lithium-ion project capex, EPC-installed, down to medium voltage with our margin. So we are pricing at €220 per kWh with EPC, with margin,” Potter said.

The Energy Dome SVP added that the manufacturing of the CO2 Battery is a highly standardised and replicable process, and therefore projects that follow this first-of-a-kind system can come in much cheaper. That could translate to a 44% reduction in CapEx if between 30 to 50 units are being fabricated, Potter claimed.

Energy Dome did not disclose names of customers or offtakers, nor the applications the asset will perform in a release this morning (1 December). The company did however say the asset is expected to be online in Q3 2024, implying that construction work has already begun. Energy-Storage.news has requested details on the above points from Energy Dome and will update this article in due course if the company is able to answer.

Danish energy company Ørsted is known to have been carrying out a feasibility study into an Energy Dome CO2 Battery project of 20MW/200MWh, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the pair in September of last year.

Energy Dome raised €60 million through an extended Series B funding round earlier this year, while the US Department of Energy (DOE) shortlisted a proposed project using its technology for a share of US$325 million funding towards commercial demonstrations of various LDES technologies.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 9th annual Energy Storage Summit EU in London, 20-21 February 2024. This year it is moving to a larger venue, bringing together Europe’s leading investors, policymakers, developers, utilities, energy buyers and service providers all in one place. Visit the official site for more info.

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