Electrical Thermal Solutions Receives DOE Funding to Commercialize Industrial Heating Battery

Industrial heating process melting raw materials

(Credit: Electrified Thermal Solutions)

by | Feb 16, 2024

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Electrified Thermal Solutions has been awarded $5 million in funding from the Department of Energy that will go toward commercializing its thermal battery technology, used to decarbonize industrial heating.

The funding will first support development of a commercial-scale pilot of the company’s Joule Hive thermal battery. The battery, developed by MIT, has successfully demonstrated the ability to convert electricity to 1,800 degrees Celsius, meeting the needs of the highest temperature industrial applications, such as producing steel, cement, and glass. As the batteries are commercialized, various industry leaders will advise the project, including Novelis, Imerys, Entergy, and Tennessee Valley Authority.

The battery will be built and tested in collaboration with SwRI. Funding will then go to the deployment of batteries at customer sites, including 3M, Buzzi Unicem, Amy’s Kitchen, and other industrial partners. EPRI will also lead analyses on costs and third-party verification required for commercial deployment.

The large majority of industrial heat, which comprises about a fifth of global energy consumption, currently uses fossil-fuel combustion and therefore causes about 20% of global emissions. Electrified Thermal Solutions’ (ETS) thermal battery offers a zero-emissions alternative to traditional, fossil fuel-based industrial heat processes by using a system that combines firebrick-style heating with electric conductivity.

DOE Funding Supports Multiple Industrial Decarbonization Projects

Earlier this year, the DOE made a $171 million investment to support 49 industrial decarbonization projects across the country, including the ETS battery project.

The majority of the selected decarbonization projects are meant to accelerate decarbonization of industrial heat, the main cause of emissions within the sector. Funding will also support research and development of low-carbon fuels, energy efficiency technologies, refrigeration alternatives, and recycling improvements, among other emissions-reducing solutions.

Although a number of technologies have been in development for decarbonizing industrial heating, many remain costly and cannot meet the temperature levels needed in some hard-to-abate industries. The Joule Hive battery may be able to respond to these obstacles.

“Cement production is known as a hard to abate industrial sector in large part because of the high temperatures required,” said Massimo Toso, president and CEO of Buzzi Unicem USA. “ETS’s Joule Hive Thermal Battery is the first industrial heat decarbonization solution we have identified that could potentially enable us to cost effectively and completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels in our heating processes and achieve our corporate decarbonization goals.”

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