Hot Desert Rocks Store Power For Israeli Homes
A new factory in Israel’s Negev desert can store up to four gigawatts per hour of energy – which could potentially power three million homes.
Rooftop solar panels gather electricity during the day and boil water into steam. That in turn heats crushed rocks to super-high temperatures.
The rocks can hold the heat for several days. That heat can then be used to boil water again when there’s demand for electricity but the sun isn’t shining. Steam from that water is used to produce clean electricity using a generator.
Brenmiller Energy’s new facility in Dimona is expected to reach full capacity by the end of 2023, producing up to four gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy. To the company’s knowledge, its factory is the first of its kind with such power capabilities.
“We’re Israeli—we’re building technologies that can reach up to 1400°F in the middle of the desert—we know a thing or two about harnessing heat, and we’re ready to share that knowledge with the world,” said Avi Brenmiller, the company’s CEO.
“Unveiling our TES (thermal energy storage) gigafactory marks a pivotal milestone in our company’s history. What started as a family business has grown into a company that can help the global economy’s efforts to decarbonize, and we believe our gigawatt-scale production capacity will allow us to meet growing demand for our solutions from industrial and utility customers.”
The factory was financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) through a €7.5 million ($8.2 million) facility agreement with. It is equipped with advanced machinery, including a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar system to help power its operations with renewable energy.
Dr. Ron Tomer, president of the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel, said: “Nearly half of all Israeli exports come from the high-tech sector.
“Brenmiller’s gigafactory will strengthen the impact that Israel’s manufacturing community can have on the global economy by producing truly innovative decarbonization technology.”
Brenmiller Energy was founded in 2012, and is based in Rosh Ha’Ayin, central Israel.