Startup spotlight: EarthEn’s CO2-based storage systems for renewables

Startup spotlight: EarthEn’s CO2-based storage systems for renewables
(Image by Enrique from Pixabay )

A big problem remains to be fully solved for the energy transition: solar and wind energy are non-dispatchable, and during times of high grid stress when energy is needed now, these energy sources fall short. However, that’s where energy storage comes in, and one startup has zeroed in on carbon dioxide-based solutions.

Phoenix, AZ-based EarthEn Inc. is developing flexible thermo-mechanical energy storage solutions that use supercritical CO2 (sCO2) in a closed loop to store 4-100+ hours of energy in a scalable manner. A participating company in the DISTRIBUTECH International Initiate program, EarthEn will soon showcase its storage solutions at DISTRIBUTECH International, set for February 26-29, 2024 in Orlando, Florida.

Initiate is the major hub for startups to showcase their technologies to electric utilities at DISTRIBUTECH International. Startups can pitch their solution to a panel of industry experts, exhibit their company, and connect with other innovators from around the world. There is no better place for startup companies to connect with the energy industry and deploy their technology into the world of transmission & distribution!

EarthEn has two solutions so far to offer: EarthEn Pods, the CO2-based storage solution meant to be “flexible & future-proof” in storing 4-100+ hours of energy in a low-cost and scalable manner for a 30-year shelf-life; and EarthEn Edge, an AI-based technology that aims to use real-time data to support the grid’s resiliency while ensuring that the company’s hardware solutions can communicate with each other.

EarthEn’s sCO2-based energy storage (PRNewsfoto/EarthEn)

“Current energy storage solutions are very expensive, hard to scale due to material & geographic constraints, aren’t flexible and have low asset lifetime values, and degrade due to heat & cycling,” said EarthEn COO & Co-Founder Karthi Chakaravarty. “Current solutions are battery-based and suffer from supply chain constraints, are unsafe with many of them exploding at customer sites.”

EarthEn’s founders. L-R: Palash Panja, Manas Pathak, Karthi Chakaravarty (Photo credit: EarthEn)

“With the integration of renewable energy, managing the intermittent/unpredictable nature of such sources requires significant upgrades while balancing frequency response & retiring inertia in a cost-effective, secure & resilient, and renewable manner while meeting the growing capacity of a technologically driven society,” Chakaravarty said. “This can only be fixed with a mechanical based energy storage system & one that’s flexible & future-proof allows utilities to easily grow their energy capacity to meet the growing energy demands.”

Last October, announced a partnership with Ørsted and Newlab for the Future Energy Storage Studio, a program meant to scale up novel energy storage solutions for longer-duration and larger-scale applications. 

Earlier in 2023, EarthEn was awarded funding by the Office of Electricity (OE), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) along with the U.S. National Lab support. The two years of funding and support are intended to enable EarthEn to advance the commercialization of its long-duration energy storage solution.

Check out the other companies participating in the Initiate startup hub at DISTRIBUTECH International!

Originally published in POWERGRID International.