Silicon battery developer 1414 Degrees has increased its capital raising target to as much as $50 million after investors said they wanted to chip in enough to help "change the landscape of the way people think about energy".
The Adelaide-based company planned to seek about $30 million ahead of a public float but investors who pre-registered for the prospectus told the company they would fund the construction of a 200 megawatt hour prototype of its molten silicon storage device.
Chairman Kevin Moriarty said the company had won several small contracts to supply small-scale pilot versions of its thermal energy storage system (TESS) devices to industrial users but needed to show that a larger TESS installation could work at scale before power engineers and energy market regulators would consider connecting them to the grid.
"We are literally putting the cart before the horse to build this," Dr Moriarty told The Australian Financial Review. The 200 MWh unit demonstration plant will cost about $20 million to build and 1414 Degrees now seeks $40 million to $50 million in new capital.
He said 1414 Degrees had also signed a contract worth $3 million to supply a pilot device to a corrugating plant in Wetherill Park, western Sydney, owned by AustCor Packaging, subject to a feasibility study.
Storing solar energy
Privately owned AustCor will also install several million dollars worth of solar panels and store energy from the panels in the TESS during the day to create steam overnight to power its corrugating machines during the day.
If the pilot works out AustCor could order TESS units to provide heat and power to other packaging plants around the country.
"We are excited at the prospect of what the TESS could deliver in terms of both energy generation and steam. We would look to rolling the technology out if successful," said Trevor Barnes, managing director of AustCor.
Similar arrangements to build pilot plants are in place with poultry processing company Pepe's Ducks and SA Water, but AustCor was also interested in helping 1414 Degrees to commercialise its technology.
Dr Moriarty has previously claimed silicon energy storage will blow lithium ion batteries "out of the water" on economic grounds. He now concedes lithium ion batteries, such as the 100 megawatt/129 MWh Tesla battery system at Neoen Australia's Hornsdale wind farm in SA, are superior for injecting instant bursts of high energy into the grid to stabilise it during sharp frequency or voltage fluctuations.
Grid storage cheaper
But the 1414 Degrees TESS storage units would be superior for storing large amounts of energy cheaply for later discharge at lower rates either as heat or power, he said. Industrial companies that process wood pulp, waste paper, sewage or food often need more heat than electrical power.
"We are more targeting removing the intermittency of renewables and doing that at low cost. We'll prove our technology, which has a huge impact in processing industries and so on."
The first step post-float will be to build a 13MWh one-off "test cell". The 200 MWh trial unit will comprise 10 cells, each containing 40 tonnes of silicon. In aggregate it will be able to discharge 10 MW of power for about eight hours and an equivalent amount of heat, with the exact mix depending on the configuration. It will also be able to provide grid-stabilising FCAS services for the grid.
Dr Moriarty said 1414 Degrees had had inquiries for silicon storage systems as large as 1000 MWh to store energy from solar farms and wind farms, for "district heating" and power from a European local government and for heat and power in a new industrial park in SA.
Adelaide's Taylor Collinson is broker to the float.
Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/silicon-battery-firm-1414-degrees-ups-ipo-to-40m50m-20180418-h0yxm1#ixzz5E9fkEn6h
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