In an attempt to solve the biggest weakness of solar energy storage, the Italian company Energy Dome has secured funding for its CO2 Battery. The funds will go toward developing and demonstrating the technology which will greatly improve solar energy storage; something that is currently lacking with today’s batteries. Discover how it works and what the future might look like with more effective, low-cost solar energy storage.

Improving Solar Energy Storage For A Cleaner Future

Earlier this year, the Milan-headquartered company revealed a rendering of a 2.5MW / 4MWh CO2 battery system using novel energy storage technology. The CO2 battery will store solar energy during the day and release it at night and during peak hours using carbon dioxide in a closed-loop cycle.

Not only will this new CO2 battery cut the cost of solar energy storage but it will also minimise the issues of performance degradation faced by existing lithium-ion batteries. The current lithium-ion batteries degrade significantly in performance after 10 years of consistent use where the CO2 Battery can maintain the same performance levels for the entire duration of its lifespan.

According to Energy Dome, this means the cost of solar energy storage will be about 50% of a lithium-ion battery with an equivalent amount of storage space. 

How Does The CO2 Battery Work?

As briefly mentioned earlier, Energy Dome’s CO2 Battery uses carbon dioxide in a closed-loop cycle where it is converted from gas to liquid and then back into gas. The “dome” is an inflatable atmospheric gas holder that is filled with CO2 in its gaseous form. When it charges, it uses electricity from the grid to power a compressor that draws CO2 from the dome and compresses it. This generates heat which is that is subsequently sent to a thermal energy storage device. 

From there, the CO2 is liquefied and stored in vessels at ambient temperature, thus completing the charge cycle. Now, they reverse the cycle in the discharging process by evaporating the liquid and recovering the heat from the thermal energy storage system. It expands the hot CO2 into a turbine that drives a generator. According to a company statement, Energy Dome’s new CO2 battery has roughly 200 MWh of storage capacity. 

The Future Of Solar Energy Storage

The CO2 battery technology developed by Energy Dome can offer long durations of solar energy storage between three to 16+ hours. It can be built using off-the-shelf components from other industries while the closed-loop thermodynamic process enables a high round-trip efficiency. It also suffers “little or no degradation” over an anticipated lifetime of more than 25 years.

It’s important to note that the CO2 battery will not release any CO2 during either the charge or discharge process. That means the company will likely need a lot of CO2 to scale its system which they could extract through carbon removal plants. This includes the direct air capture (DAC) facility which is currently under construction in the UK. 

Once successful, this type of development would greatly improve solar energy storage capacity while helping the world minimise CO2 emissions even further. 

Final Thoughts

Energy Dome’s latest funding was led by venture capitalist firm 360 Capital and includes companies such as Barclays’ Sustainable Impact Capital program, and a climate technology start-up accelerator called Third Derivative

Claudio Spadacini, founder and CEO of Energy Dome said: “Grid systems across the world need effective, low-cost storage to pair with renewable energy. We’re excited to be leveraging this investment and agreement to accelerate our deployment of this transformational technology. We thank all of the supporters who made the announcement possible.”

Energy Dome also confirmed that its solar energy storage solution can overcome the limitations of lithium-ion. It poses no fire risk, can be manufactured without rare earth materials and has better performance and lower capital investment.  

Other Fascinating Solar Energy Projects

Fossil fuels have long been the primary source of energy for almost every sector. However, in recent years, solar and wind power have made headlines with some amazing developments. These projects aim to create a more sustainable future and unlock sustainability across the globe. Here are some of the most fascinating solar energy projects to date:

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