Chairmans review of half-year results
Over the past six months, 1414 Degrees has sustained a high level of interest from major corporations looking to reduce their emissions. Demonstrating the feasibility of SiBox technology to provide a stable and reliable heat stream, capable of augmenting or replacing natural gas in high-temperature industries, has been a consistent focus.
The evaluation of business cases across diverse industries has revealed promising opportunities. We found that industries like alumina could save cost and reduce emissions with our technology, depending on gas and carbon prices. The same goes for industries that use a lot of natural gas and want to cut emissions or use renewable electricity. The SiBox Demonstration Module (SDM) is designed to provide confidence in operations, building on our experience with earlier silicon storage systems to prove safe and reliable energy storage at temperatures up to 1500°C.
The battery energy storage system (BESS) on our Aurora Energy Precinct near Port Augusta progressed. A generator performance study was submitted to the transmission utility as part of an application to connect to the National Electricity Market through the 275kV line. The Company purchased Aurora in 2019 as a potential site for a pilot SiBox system to store and generate electricity and obtained regulatory approval for a grid scale SiBox thermal energy storage system capable of generating revenue through frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) and system strength in the National Electricity Market (NEM). The Company plans to demonstrate the SDM’s ability to provide FCAS in the upcoming months, driven by positive feedback from industrial and energy firms. Additionally, the Company assembled partners to develop an integrated hydrogen-SiBrick reactor to position the Company as a producer of carbon-free hydrogen, with potential for lower operating costs and substantially higher efficiency compared to traditional electrolysis plants.
SiBox® Development Update
Following the successful commissioning announced in August, the SiBox Demonstration Module has continued operational testing, verifying robust performance of the patented SiBrick and SiBox technology. Notably, significant performance milestones were achieved, including successful operation for a prolonged duration with an outlet temperature at 900°C, the upper limit of the SDM design specifications. Charge-discharge cycle testing was also completed across a range of outlet temperature setpoints (700-900°C), simulating conditions in high-temperature industrial processes.
The SiBrick storage media underwent 97 latent heat cycles, showcasing consistent performance within design expectations. Testing has verified the nominal design storage capacity of 1MWh-thermal at an 850°C outlet temperature.
Our engagement with industry partners has uncovered diverse demands across sectors, highlighting the individualised requirements for energy storage. The flexibility of the SiBox storage system has been showcased, delivering consistent and clean high-temperature process heat. This not only lowers energy costs but also contributes to emissions reduction and increased process stability.
Ongoing testing aims to provide additional data, quantifying SDM performance under variable operating conditions and demonstrating specific operating modes. The SDM comprises a modular arrangement of SiBrick optimised for energy storage capacity and effective heat transfer. The SiBricks are housed within an insulated heat store and integrated with an energy recovery system, simulating commercial application processes, such as gas burner replacement in an alumina calciner.
We have made substantial progress in developing a SiBrick that is both durable for long-term use and suitable for mass production. The initial batch of the newly designed SiBrick is currently being produced in Germany by our technology partner, Refratechnik-Steel Gmbh. The upcoming phase involves thorough thermal cycling in the active airflow of the Company’s original Prototype device, which has been upgraded to automate charging and discharging. Success in this phase will mean that the Company can use existing refractory manufacturing lines to produce thousands or millions of SiBrick – a million would nominally store 1GWh of energy – without having to invest in its own manufacturing facilities.
Aurora Energy Precinct Progress
The Aurora Energy Precinct has seen significant progress toward revenue with submission of the application for transmission connection of a 140MW BESS, a lithium-ion storage system to the National Electricity Market. Development approval has been secured for a pilot SiBox thermal energy storage system generating 2MW of electricity has been secured, with potential expansion possibilities. Modeling indicates that a SiBox thermal charging system could also provide frequency control services (FCAS) to the NEM, generating substantial revenue in the context of increased renewable penetration.
Collaboration with London-based investment bank Hannam & Partners has extended the Company’s global reach, involving consultations and research reports on thermal energy storage markets as well as identifying potential buyers or investors for the Aurora BESS project. Financially, the successful shareholder rights issue raised approximately $1.5 million to fund further SiBrick development and attracted increased grant funding.