Brick and iron heat battery for zero-carbon industrial processes


California’s Rondo Energy announced it has released two models of its Rondo Heat Battery (RHB), an energy storage system that dispatches both heat and electricity for industrial applications. The battery is made of readily available materials such as bricks and iron.

The Bill Gates-backed company developed the battery as a way to decarbonize the industrial sector, which comes with challenges like the need for high temperatures and large amounts of highly dispatchable power. The RHB systems can store more than 1 MWh per square meter, a high level of density that preserves area use at industrial facilities.

RHB batteries offer continuous power with a 95% annual capacity power while operating on input power as low as 15% capacity factor, or four hours of dispatchable power generation per day.

The company’s so-called “brick toaster” heat battery stores intermittent generation from renewable energy resources like solar and wind, able to hold stored heat energy at temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Celsius for hours or days at a time. The zero-carbon solution supports manufacturing processes such as steel, cement and chemical manufacturing, as well as low-temperature food processing.

Image: Rondo Energy

Rondo said a single RHB300 unit can eliminate more than 40,000 tons of carbon emissions per year, equivalent to the carbon offset of about 8,700 electric vehicles.

“The Rondo Heat Battery will help companies in industries such as cement, fuels, food and water desalination to begin leveraging the falling costs of renewables without modifying their facilities,” said Carmichael Roberts, Business Lead and the head of Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ investment committee.

RHBs use brick materials that have been used in the steel production process for over a century, but rearranged in a patented configuration. It can be used to replace fuel-fired furnaces and boilers, offering low-cost zero-carbon energy. The company said the units are fully automatic, able to deliver heat on demand for 24 hours a day at constant temperatures.

Rondo said the batteries can be integrated into existing process heating equipment, allowing for significant emissions reductions without the need for a factory overhaul. The batteries are expected to operate for 40 years or more with no performance degradation.

“Rondo’s mission is simple: lower cost heat and energy for large industrial processes. We’re finding that deep emission reductions are now both practical and affordable for many of the world’s most energy-intensive facilities. Our studies of customer facilities are showing 50% to 90% reductions in emissions and reductions in operating costs of 30% or more,” said Jeremey Keller, senior vice president of Rondo Energy.

Oakland, California-based Rondo Energy has raised $25.1 million in funding to date from Breakthrough and Energy Impact Partners, with its most recent funding from a February Series A round.

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