A South Australian company, 1414 Degrees, has moved into a factory in the southern Adelaide suburb of Lonsdale where it will build Thermal Energy Storage System systems.

The company has spent almost a decade developing its Thermal Energy Storage System technology to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon at a cost estimated to be as little as one-tenth of the cost of lithium batteries.

The high latent heat capacity and melting temperature of 1414°C make silicon ideal for storing large amounts of energy. The process generates clean useable heat, which can easily be utilised for district heating or industrial purposes.

Initially, the company will build its first 10MWh system and the first 13.3MWh test cell for a 200MWh grid unit in the factory. The company is  planning to build two grid-scale 1GWh systems in South Australia. These would comprise five 200MWh units and potentially play a significant role in stabilising the state’s renewable energy-dependent electricity network.

The 10MWh systems, which use about 20 tonnes of silicon, will be targeted at industries that require both electricity and heat. It is likely the first units will be used in large greenhouses.