Australian company 1414 Degrees has started operations of its thermal energy storage system (TESS) at the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant in Adelaide.

The new thermal energy storage system has been designed to convert biogas from the wastewater treatment plant. The 10MWh storage unit is nearly the size of a 40ft shipping container.

1414 Degrees executive chairman Dr Kevin Moriarty said: “This marks a pivotal phase in the commissioning process, firing the burners for the first time and heating up the thermal energy store. Importantly, we will pay for the biogas we use and sell electricity at market prices to test the revenue model.

“The wastewater management industry is watching closely, as are many other heat dependent industries looking to reduce energy costs, save jobs and lower environmental impacts.

“The 10MWh storage unit is nearly the size of a 40ft shipping container.”

“Renewables are about more than wind and solar. It’s time to put our vast sources of biogas to more efficient and sustainable use. Naturally occurring biogas has the potential to lower the cost and increase the stability of energy with reduced demand on fossil fuels.”

Moriarty explained that the biogas from wastewater management, agribusiness and landfill gas was an increasingly important source of energy globally. He added that 1414 Degrees is the first in the world to develop a system that stores biogas as thermal energy to produce heat and electricity on demand.

TESS technology has been designed to absorb gas or electricity from any source and store it as latent heat in silicon.

Latent heat melts at 1,414°C and energy generated can then be broken or distributed as electricity or heat whenever required.

The 10MWh GAS-TESS system was co-funded by the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund, as well as shareholders of 1414 Degrees.