Lithium-ion batteries have long been the go-to for energy storage due to their reliability and various sizing abilities, amongst other benefits. They initially became popular in the 1990s after their commercialization by the Sony Corporation.
The battery continued to see gradual growth, followed by a large surge in the mid-2000s, when both Honda and Tesla made electric and hybrid electric vehicles more popular, thus resulting in an industry-wide demand for lithium batteries. Today, they can be found in many devices, from electric cars to smartphones and even laptops.
What Makes Them So Popular?
For starters, contrary to many other battery types, lithium-ion batteries require very little maintenance to keep them running efficiently. Despite this, they can still fall subject to gradual degradation over 7-10 years.
Lithium batteries do carry a rather notable footprint during their production and transportation phases regarding their environmental impact. Despite this, from manufacturing to end of life, the battery typically has less environmental impact than fossil fuels when used in electric vehicles, making it a highly desirable option in the alternative energy realm.
That said, it is because of this initial upfront environmental cost, coupled with a relatively short life span, that researchers and engineers have not only been working to streamline the battery but even to integrate other battery options into society.
The Italian company, Energy Dome, might have unlocked the code to efficient energy storage and a lower environmental impact when compared to lithium batteries.
Their product, named the CO2 battery, promises long-term energy storage, efficiency, low cost, and portability. In fact, their battery is said to be so cost-efficient that it can store energy at just half the cost of lithium batteries.
According to Energy Dome's website, the CO2 battery is "based on a thermodynamic process that efficiently stores energy by manipulating CO2 under different state conditions in a closed thermodynamic transformation. The CO2 Battery can operate in charging mode (absorbing power from the grid) and discharging mode (returning power to the grid)."
Essentially, when the battery needs a recharge, it will take atmospheric emissions and compress them via an inter-refrigerator compressor. This will result in excess heat that will then be stored in thermal energy systems.
The emissions will then undergo immense pressurization before being stored, expanded to heat a turbine, and sent to the grid for storage or use.
The CO2 battery's "optimal charge/discharge cycle ranges from 4 to 24 hours, positioning it perfectly for daily and intra-day cycling." Further, the battery will work in conjunction with solar and wind energy. It will harvest the power during the peak daytimes and store it for use during the night when energy generation is not at total capacity. This means that power can be used on a 24-hour basis.
In addition, the CO2 battery is expected to have a lifespan of up to 25 years, which means that it could allow for significant energy generation and long-term efficiency.
Though it will still take time, resources, and various assessments to determine the entire environmental footprint of the device and how eco-friendly it really is, it is fair to say that the signs are looking positive.
A Fast-Growing Startup
Energy Dome was founded in Italy in 2019 by energy entrepreneur Claudio Spadaccini, with the mission to help fight climate change by reducing atmospheric emissions.
In the short time that the company has been around, they have been able to gain notable coverage for their advancing technological design, significant funding, and efficient work. Within two short years, the team had already filed patents for their inventions, an impressive and noteworthy feat.
Their accomplishments even yielded $11 million in funding from various enthusiastic investors.
Cesare Manfredi, a managing partner of 360 Capital, one of the company's limited partners and investors, said, "Long-term energy storage will play a pivotal role in tackling climate change, paving the way for a carbon-free grid."
Steven Poulter, Head of Principal Structuring and Investments at Barclays, another major investor, says, "Energy Dome's ground breaking technology addresses the issue that transitioning to a low carbon economy requires not only renewable energy sources, but effective ways of storing this energy, to help balance supply with demand." "Barclays is pleased to be supporting Energy Dome's next stage of growth, as they continue to drive efforts to reduce carbon emissions worldwide."
Energy Dome's design aims to tackle the discrepancies that already lie within a relatively streamlined concept, alternative energy. Furthermore, by utilizing atmospheric emissions to store harvested energy, their battery could genuinely make a significant difference for the future of renewables.
Only time will tell the true success of their project. However, the company's team of vastly skilled engineers coupled with sufficient funding and patent leaves many to believe the company's inevitable breakthrough will design.