Construction is almost complete, meaning that the company is now confident enough to move forward with the installation of its thermal energy storage media (silicon) and is expecting to be able to commission the demonstration module sometime shortly this year. Performance testing will follow, in order to demonstrate how SiBox will deliver for customers, adding to the company’s commercialisation strategy.
1414 Degrees has reached a major milestone in the development of its SiBox™ Demonstration Module. The furnace has been installed and heated to 1420°C. The silicon will be heated by electricity from the grid, making use of surplus solar at midday and wind in the wee hours of the night.
SiBox will harness the extremely high latent heat capacity of silicon, to store heat from intermittent renewables, providing industry with reliable, decarbonised, ultra-high temperature heat 24/7.
In November 2022, 1414 Degrees was successful in its application for a $2.2 million grant from the Australian Federal Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) to accelerate the commercialisation of the technology.
The grant will be used to support the commercialisation of the SiBox technology through the construction, commissioning and testing of the circa 1 MWh SiBox demonstration module validation project. It will also fund commercialisation activities including market research and technoeconomic evaluation of brown-field integration opportunities for SiBox.
The intended comprehensive test programme will enable the Company to build a multi-module 75 MWh commercial pilot, scheduled to be commissioned in 2025.
“We believe the SiBox is a robust, scalable and flexible design that will enable the use of affordable and abundant renewable energy for the delivery of clean, high temperature heat” said 1414 Degrees Chief Executive Officer Matt Squire, commenting on the award of the grant.
“This can then be used in a vast array of industrial applications that currently rely on fossil fuels. In addition, SiBox could be utilised by thermal power stations, minerals processors and renewable energy developers as they look to de-carbonise their future operations and design. SiBox is the latest generation of 1414 Degrees proprietary silicon-based thermal energy storage technology. The demonstration module will accelerate the commercialisation of SiBox as a competitive clean energy product; advance the Technical Readiness Level (TRL); and provide confidence to large scale industrial and utility customers. The module is designed to be replicable to build any scale of energy storage device.”
SiBox technology harnesses the exceptionally high latent heat of molten silicon to store energy in the form of high temperature heat, presenting a paradigm-shift in how thermal energy is stored and recovered. The heart of the SiBox technology is a robust storage media solution that protects the silicon-based phase change material from degrading, while storing and transferring heat efficiently and cost-effectively. SiBox consists of modular sections of the new storage media, heating elements and a heat exchanger to recover the stored thermal energy in the form of hot air in a closed loop.
The SiBox module is designed to be tailored for specific applications with minimal design or operational changes, providing the potential to fast-track commercialisation with a single product capable of servicing multiple heat and/or electricity applications. It can use intermittent renewable energy sources to produce the high temperature heat needed by industry, with the temperature able to be customised for different applications.