Brenmiller Enrgy unveils a new thermic energy storage technology

8 December, 2016

Brenmillers showcase facility in dimona, Israel converts various energy sources into high temperature steam, providing electrical capacity of 1.5 MW. Did the company give up its solar dreams, shifting its focus to one link in the energy supply chain?

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Brenmillers showcase facility in dimona, Israel converts various energy sources into high temperature steam, providing electrical capacity of 1.5 MW. Did the company give up its solar dreams, shifting its focus to one link in the energy supply chain?

brenmiller-energyIsraeli Brenmiller Energy unveiled an advanced heat storage technology, compatible with multiple energy sources. Converting the stored heat provides cheap electricity. The company has constructed a 1.5 MW showcase facility in Dimona, Israel.  The system is charged by various energy sources such as solar power, natural gas, residual heat and fuel – producing stable steam, ideal for the production of electricity and other industrial applications. The technology, developed in cooperation with the Israeli ministry of energy by joint funding, is compatible with a wide range of power production facilities – from small scale fule powered generators to gas power combined cycle plants.

The use of buffering considerably enhances the gas burning efficiency, and provides solutions for smart grid management by shifting power from depression hours to peak hours. “A meaningful reduction of emissions requires the implementation of a wide range of renewable energy production methods, decentralized and reliable production and, a cheap and efficient storage solution” says Brenmiller CEO Avi Brenmiller. “The storage technology developed by us, solves one of the main difficulties in the energy industry – matching demand to production capacity”.

Brenmiller Energy was established by Avi Brenmiller in 2012. Before establishing the company, Avi Brenmiller served as the CEO of Solel. In 2009 Solel was acquired by Siemens for $418 million, and Brenmiller was appointed CEO of Siemens Solar Thermal Energy. But in 2011 Siemens have decided to back out of the solar industry, leading to Brenmiller’s resignation.

The company’s energy storage technology is based on an Energy Center, which  is a multifunctional modular boiler with high temperature thermal storage. This is a cost effective solution which incorporates three key elements in one unit: inexpensive storage, simplified heat exchanger, and built-in steam generation. It is capable of hybridizing multiple heat sources, whether renewable or other, into a single energy output, enabling complete resource optimization. All of this amounts to a steady supply of readily available, high temperature steam.

Moving from solar energy to steam

Brenmiller is moving away from solar power
Brenmiller is moving away from solar power

The unveiling of this new technology represents a strategic shift in the company’s technology and market perception. Brenmiller founded the company in order to develop stable and reliable solar energy production. The company’s original idea was to supply solar energy power plants comprised of mirror farms for heat production, and a thermic storage center, which enables the conversion of the stored residual heat to energy by standard steam turbines, at any given moment – night or day.

Though the company still defines itself as a supplier of solar energy, the unveiling of the new showcase facility in Dimona shows that the company has given up the solar market, focusing on the weakest link of all the alternative power sources instead: the storage and interfacing to standard energy production sources. This new strategy has two considerable advantages – first, it doesn’t require Brenmiller to compete against other companies constructing solar power plants, allowing it to supply them with its new technology. Second, it widens the scope of Brenmillers business to a wider range of alternative power sources such as bio-thermic and geothermic systems.

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