Italian good news: Italian startup Energy Dome finds solution to store electricity using CO2
- WTI Magazine #166 Aug 19, 2023
Global CO2 emissions are causing a drastic and irreversible change in our climate. Italian startup Energy Dome, founded in 2019, finds a solution to the problem that involves precisely storing CO2 renewable energy. "Unlike coal and oil, which can be stored, renewable sources such as sun and wind do not have this feature.
Therefore, batteries are always needed, that is, systems that 'hold aside' energy (which is produced when there is sun or wind) and release it when needed," explains Ceo and founder Claudio Spadacini, a mechanical engineer and serial entrepreneur. "Our system does just that, and it does it using CO2."
How does it work? "We buy CO2 and put it in a gasometer (our "dome"), at room pressure and temperature. At the moment when we need to "charge the battery," that is, precisely to accumulate energy because the photovoltaic system is producing more than is needed, we operate a compressor that cools it and transforms it to a liquid state. The compressed CO2 is put into tanks, which we have to imagine as large fire extinguishers. These are really our batteries. When we need energy, we re-evaporate the CO2 and send it into a turbine that drives a generator, which in turn produces electricity."
The value of this plant (a demonstration one has been built at Ottana in Sardinia, connected to the national power grid), is a few tens of millions of euros. "The big utilities will be the ones to buy it: they are the ones who have to supply electricity to the grid and users without putting CO2 into the atmosphere," Spadacini adds.
It is now globally recognized that energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, is an important step toward decarbonization.
Therefore, systems that enable the storage of renewable energy are critical. In fact, wind and photovoltaic systems are currently unable to produce energy continuously. They do so depending on the presence of the sun and wind. Therefore, 'batteries' are needed to store the excess energy produced so that it can be used as needed, even when panels and turbines are not producing it. And that's where Energy Dome's technology comes in.