An Australian developer of new thermal energy storage technology has secured A$8.25 million (US$5.4m) of equity funding to finish commissioning its first commercial production line and speed growth initiatives.
Four-year-old MGA Thermal, based at Tomago in New South Wales, has received “strong support” from existing investors such as Main Sequence, Varley Holdings, Melt Ventures and New Zealand’s Climate Venture Capital Fund, plus new backers, UK-headquartered Pollination Group and Australia’s Understorey Ventures.
MGA Thermal’s Miscibility Gap Alloy (MGA) graphite-aluminium high-energy-density blocks, developed after nearly a decade of research and development at the University of Newcastle, are being produced at a facility at Tomago, near Newcastle in NSW. The modular blocks, about the size of a shoebox, are stacked into MGA’s Thermal Energy Storage (TES) assemblies. It says the TES systems can store millions of kilowatt hours of energy “in a cheaper, safer and longer-lasting way compared to other dispatchable solutions”.
“A stack of 3700 blocks in our demonstration unit about the size of a shipping container stores enough energy to power more than 135 homes for 24 hours,” the company says.
MGA CEO Erich Kisi, co-inventor of the alloy and a former professor of material science at the University of Newcastle, said the company was on track to produce 1000 thermal blocks a day that could be assembled into 24/7 renewable energy storage systems.
The company previously received A$1.26m of Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funding and a $583,000 (US$0.4m) “donation” from Shell.
“We’re proud of our work and support received to date from ARENA and energy powerhouse Shell,” MGA deputy CEO Mark Croudace said.
“We’re honoured to welcome new supporters, Pollination Group and Understorey Ventures, whose backing is instrumental in propelling our groundbreaking solution and driving us closer to our goal of revolutionising the renewable energy storage landscape.
“Renewable energy sources come with their limitations, especially when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.
“Plugging this gap is the reason we exist.
“MGA technology is perfectly aligned to generate 24/7 clean steam for harder-to-abate industrial sectors, a rapidly growing very large market domestically and globally.
“There’s no shortage of demand and we’re on track to abate 30 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030 — the equivalent of more than 23 years of commercial flights from Sydney to LA.”