1414 Degrees’ core focus continues to be the technical and commercial development of our silicon based thermal energy storage technology. To meet the challenges of successfully commercialising a new technology in a dynamic market the Company’s strategies, structure and people are always evolving. This has recently resulted in:
- – The development of SiBox™, the latest generation of our thermal energy storage technology, to efficiently and robustly harness the exceptionally high latent heat capacity of molten silicon to store energy from intermittent renewable energy. The research and development behind SiBox™ is led by our core technical team and supported by strong relationships with our strategic partner
- – New leadership at Management and Board level, with the appointment of Matthew Squire as Chief Executive Officer and Tony Sacre as Chair of the Board. These appointments significantly enhance the commercial, strategic and governance capabilities of the Company.
- – Relocation into new premises, uniting all staff, particularly the technical and commercial teams, for the first time.
- – Renewed technical, commercial, and business development focus on heat and combined heat and power applications, as informed by prospective customers and where SiBox™ is able to demonstrate its unique, competitive advantages.
- – An updated development plan for the Aurora Energy Project that will ensure we gain the maximum return on investment from this site, financially and strategically, to support the development and demonstration of the SiBox™ technology.
The Company acknowledges the significant contribution of Dr Kevin Moriarty, who ably led 1414 Degrees through its formative years. We look forward to the next exciting growth phase in which we are well positioned to capitalise on the global transition to a clean energy future.
The Company’s Research & Development team has focussed its development efforts on three thermal storage media options for SiBox™ which are radically different in design and superior to our previous generation of storage media. During the last quarter samples of each option completed six months of testing under anticipated real-life conditions. Two storage media options show negligible degradation, i.e. the chemical composition and energy storage density show minimal change and the structural integrity is maintained. This is a significant milestone in our long-term testing program.
As described in the SiBox™ Commercialisation Pathway (ASX release 28/05/2021), we are on-track to build our 1 MWh SiBox™ Demonstration Module by September 2022. Full-system design, optimisation activities and selection of the most robust, energy dense and lowest cost storage media option have been progressed in this quarter. The final storage media selection for the SiBox™ Demonstration Module is anticipated to be completed by September 2021. The Demonstration Module will be a full-scale single module of our new SiBox™ design, which will accelerate the commercialisation of SiBox™ as a competitive and scalable clean energy product, advance the Technical Readiness Level and provide confidence to large scale industrial and utility customers.
The Company continues to actively manage, document and protect all its intellectual property covering SiBox™storage media materials and design, heat store design and arrangement, heating systems, energy recovery systems and applications. As part of this, the Company resolved a dispute with Climate Change Technologies (CCT), concerning a very early patent, on satisfactory commercial terms, as per ASX release dated 11 June 2021.
Our R&D project with the University of Adelaide, funded through the Innovation Connect program, has completed its first stage of theoretical analysis. The study is aimed at developing new low-cost silicon-based alloys to further improve the competitiveness of the SiBox™ storage media for different high-temperature applications. The next stage will experimentally evaluate the shortlisted alloys.
The Heavy Industries Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC), of which 1414 Degrees is an Affiliate Partner, has been awarded $39 million in cash support over 10 years from the Australian Government. HILT CRC aims to transform the Australian heavy industry sector to compete in the low-carbon global economy for carbon-neutral materials such as ‘green’ steel, alumina, cement and other processed minerals. HILT-CRC is an opportunity for 1414 Degrees to contribute to research and engage with prospective customers in heavy industries seeking to cost-effectively decarbonise and hence aligns well with our vision.
The GAS-TESS operated in the last quarter for a three week period to maintain plant operability and increase runtime. Going forward the Company plans to operate the GAS-TESS on a similar periodic basis for specific tests and to maintain plant integrity.
The GAS-TESS technology and commercialisation pathway has been mapped out, particularly focussing on hybrid approaches with other generating assets. We continue to look for and work with partners interested in how the GAS-TESS can add value to their operations, including many water utilities and other applications where there is waste gas or variable/ intermittent gas with calorific value that can be better used.
Detailed financial modelling of the business case for the first stage of the Aurora Energy Project (AEP), a 140MW/140MWhr battery, has confirmed its high revenue potential and profitability which has led to strong interest in financing the project. Further financial modelling is underway taking into account the effect of different future market scenarios to ensure a robust, bankable business case and secure investment. To complement this, the off-take strategy is being reviewed to firm up revenue projections, in particular merchant/spot-market sales versus contracted power purchase/capacity agreements.
The preferred National Electricity Market (NEM) connection point for the Project is the 275kV transmission line immediately adjacent to the Aurora project site. The process for connecting to this line was assisted by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) implementing a rule change on July 8th relating to Dedicated Connection Assets. By providing clarity on the requirements for connection, the Company can now progress commercial discussions with the relevant parties, OZ Minerals and ElectraNet, and the technical studies required for the transmission connection agreement.
Strong responses were received from top-tier vendors to an updated Expression of Interest for supply of batteries and construction of the first stage of the AEP. Negotiations are continuing with preferred parties.
Relevant approvals for the project have been obtained, including Crown Sponsorship and Office of the Technical Regulator Certificate. The Development Approval variation has been lodged and is under assessment by the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.
The quarter saw changes to the Company’s executive team and overall Board governance structures. The former Company Secretary and Director, Richard Willson resigned, whilst the former Managing Director, Jamie Summons, finished with the Company. More recently, the Company bade farewell to its longstanding Executive Chairman, Dr Kevin Moriarty, who has resigned as both an executive and director.
1414 Degrees has appointed Matthew Squire as Chief Executive Officer and he will start his role on August 2nd. Matthew joins the Company with over 20 years’ experience in the oil and energy sectors, many in senior leadership roles, and has been directly involved in some of the largest energy transactions in Australia. The Board believes the executive team of Matthew Squire and Dr Jordan Parham, Chief Operating Officer, will provide strong leadership, outstanding technical capability and drive further commercial initiatives and developments.
During the quarter Tony Sacre was appointed as a Director and the Chair of the Board and Tania Sargent was appointed as Company Secretary.
All people and equipment have now been moved to our new Daws Rd premises. In particular, all research and development facilities have been safely moved and all testing has resumed.
The June quarter closing cash position improved to $5.7m on receipt of the $1.9m R&D Tax Rebate lodged with the ATO in April this year. The Company’s continued focus on cashflow management will ensure the timely delivery of key projects.
As required by ASX Listing Rule 4.7C3, the Company notes that $106,000 was paid to related parties during the quarter. These payments were salaries, fees and superannuation paid to Directors.