Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    New Startup Develops Bricks as the Building Blocks of Decarbonized Industries

    A startup called Electrified Thermal Solutions (ETS) is revolutionizing the way heat is generated for heavy industries by developing thermal batteries using bricks. Traditional electric heating technology falls short when it comes to achieving the high temperatures required for processes such as steel or cement production. ETS aims to address this by utilizing thermal batteries that can store and release energy in the form of heat.

    Hydrogen has been considered as an alternative for heat generation, but the development of sufficient green hydrogen capacity is prohibitively expensive. In contrast, thermal batteries present a cost-effective solution. During periods of cheap electricity, the batteries can be charged, and when electricity prices increase or renewable sources of energy are not available, the stored heat can be utilized. Customers have the option to use the released heat to generate steam or power turbines for electricity generation, making it suitable for a range of industries.

    The ETS Joule Hive thermal battery is made up of firebricks that are infused with semiconductor materials, giving them electrically conductive properties. These bricks can withstand and store the intense heat generated by running electricity through them. The thermal mass of the bricks, coupled with insulation, allows them to retain heat for hours or even days. ETS’s bricks can reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius, equivalent to flame temperatures used in various industries.

    Compared to hydrogen, ETS claims that its heat production is at least three times cheaper. Although currently more expensive than natural gas, the cost competitiveness of ETS’s technology is dependent on factors such as natural gas prices and potential carbon pricing. The company has raised a total of $4.75 million, including a $4.5 million seed round led by Clean Energy Ventures.

    ETS has collaborated with a brick maker to optimize its recipe for industrial-scale equipment. The company is currently refining its pilot system, which is the size of an elevator. The next stage includes designing a commercial-scale thermal battery the size of a shipping container. Once completed, ETS plans to offer heat generated from the batteries or complete systems for sale.

    Founder and CEO Dan Stack, a former MIT graduate researcher, said that this breakthrough technology is the result of a decade of work. ETS was established to overcome the limitations of existing electric heating technology and provide a sustainable and cost-effective solution for heavy industries.

    – TechCrunch