Commissioning of pilot molten silicon energy storage system moves a step closer

SA Water’s Glenelg wastewater treatment plant.

The first commercial pilot of a molten silicon energy storage system developed by South Australian innovator, 1414 Degrees, is one step closer to commissioning, with large components of the technology making their way to SA Water’s Glenelg wastewater treatment plant this week.

414 Degrees’ biogas Thermal Energy Storage System (GAS-TESS) technology will store energy generated from biogases created during wastewater treatment to increase the plant’s energy self-sufficiency.

The project is co-funded by 1414 Degrees and the South Australian government’s Renewable Technology Fund, while a partnership with SA Water provides an environment to pilot the system’s ability to integrate energy storage and heat with industrial operations.

Dr Kevin Moriarty, executive chairman of 1414 Degrees, said mobilising to site was an important step in demonstrating the technology’s ability.

“We expect to commission the GAS-TESS in March 2019 and provide immediate returns for SA Water, while at the same time building a foundation for the wider application of the 1414 Degrees technology at similar sites across the globe,” said Moriarty.

“Our timing could not be better, with an increasing focus on the critical importance of renewable energy to ensuring a sustainable future for Australia.

“SA Water is leading the way for corporate Australia by supporting innovative renewable technology to reduce the hip pocket impact of energy prices for its customers, while lessening our country’s carbon footprint.”

1414 Degrees’ original technology was developed with a focus on electrical input, such as solar or wind power. In 2017 the company’s engineering team commenced development of an additional offering – the GAS-TESS – in response to a request from SA Water for technology that would allow a biogas input to store energy.

SA Water chief executive Roch Cheroux said it was exciting that local innovation was being facilitated in the essential service’s push for a zero-cost energy future.

“Embracing innovative, world-leading technology and ways of thinking, is essential to reducing our electricity costs and maintaining low and stable pricing for our customers,” said Cheroux.

“To date, we have used biogas produced by our wastewater treatment processing at Glenelg to generate electricity and cover up to 80 per cent of the plant’s needs.

“As well as realising the benefits of increased energy self-sufficiency, we can support South Australian innovation and, hopefully, lead a global charge to reduce the costs and environmental impacts of energy-intensive wastewater treatment operations.”

1414 Degrees listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in September 2018, following a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) which saw the company raise more than $16.3 million.

In addition to preparing the GAS-TESS for implementation at Glenelg, 1414 Degrees has been commissioning its 10MWh TESS-IND and assessing sites for the company’s 200MWh TESS-GRID product line. Across the past two years, 1414 Degrees has raised $30 million in capital both privately and through its IPO to support the business’ push into commercial industries.