California-based thermal battery technology company, Antora Energy, announced it has started producing highly-efficient thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells in a new 2MW manufacturing facility.
The manufacturing line, located at Antora Energy’s Sunnyvale headquarters, will have an initial capacity of 2 MW of TPV cells annually, making it the world’s largest producer of TPV.
The facility, which supports dozens of jobs, relies on a U.S. supply chain with supplier partnerships across multiple states, including in the midwestern and southern U.S.
Since its foundation in 2018, Antora Energy has collaborated with the photovoltaics team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to achieve the initial technology breakthroughs underlying their current industry-leading TPV efficiency, demonstrating heat-to-electricity conversion efficiencies greater than 40%.
With the support and funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation, the Activate Fellowship, and private investors, Antora Energy has also been able to demonstrate the capability to manufacture TPV at scale.
This breakthrough allows Antora Energy to deliver low-cost, zero-emissions electricity using their thermal battery technology, which consists of carbon blocks heated by inexpensive renewable electricity. The thermal energy stored in these blocks can be directly delivered to industrial customers as zero-carbon process heat, or converted via Antora Energy’s high-efficiency TPV back to electricity, on demand.
Andrew Ponec, co-founder and CEO of Antora Energy, said:
“We’ve spent several years converting our world-record TPV prototypes into manufacturable products, and have now demonstrated a pathway to production on commercial equipment. Antora’s innovation will enable cost-effective, large-scale replacement of the fossil fuels used in today’s manufacturing processes for heat and power. It’s the fastest, least expensive path for the industrial sector to get to net zero. This technology breakthrough could have major ramifications in sectors beyond manufacturing, including the electric grid, the built environment, and transportation. A new class of efficient, lightweight, and scalable heat engines could transform how industry thinks about thermal energy and electricity generation.”
Source: Press release by Antora Energy. Photo credit: Antora Energy. A rendering of Antora Energy’s thermal battery storage array.