Antora Energy turns on first thermal battery
Startup Antora Energy kicked off operation of a bus-sized pilot thermal battery project, highlighting an unusual energy-storage tech, and paving the way for the company's fundraising.
Why it matters: New types of low-cost and longer-duration energy-storage systems could help companies and utilities better access clean energy, reducing carbon emissions.
Driving the news: Antora Energy started operating its first pilot project at a site of independent power producer Wellhead Electric Company near Fresno, Calif.
- Antora, founded in 2018, is planning to raise its Series B in the next few months, following its $50 million Series A announced in February 2022, CEO Andrew Ponec tells Axios.
- Current investors in Antora include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Shell Ventures, BHP Ventures, Grok Ventures, Trust Ventures, Overture VC, Impact Science Ventures and Fifty Years VC.
- The company, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., leased a pilot manufacturing facility in San Jose a few months ago and plans to make its thermal batteries there to deliver to future customers.
Zoom in: Antora makes an entirely new type of "battery" that stores energy as heat instead of the chemical reactions that occur in lithium-ion batteries.
- In Antora's system, to charge the battery, clean energy–derived electricity superheats coils that heat up carbon blocks in insulated containers.
- Antora is unique in that it can provide high heat to customers, and some industrial players like steel or cement makers could be interested in tapping into that.
Big picture: A handful of companies are developing first-of-its-kind long-duration energy-storage technology to try to beat out lithium-ion batteries on cost and duration.
Yes, but: New technologies like Antora's often take much longer than expected to move from the pilot deployment phase to mass-scale commercial production.
- Antora says it intends to start shipping its thermal batteries to customers in 2025.