SA Water approached 1414 Degrees to develop a thermal energy storage system (TESS) with gas, rather than electrical input, to store energy from the biogas produced in their wastewater treatment process.
This has led to the GAS-TESS, the first technology in the world to solve the issue of effectively storing biogas as thermal energy to produce heat and electricity on demand.
SA Water is a leader in sewage treatment, as a result of their wastewater treatment process biogas is formed. Biogas is a highly economical source of renewable energy however there are challenges in storing the gas and previously it had to be used as it was generated.
This led to the biogas being burnt in reciprocating engines to generate power, as per option 3 on the diagram, this requires costly pre-treatment of the biogas, high maintenance costs and an inability to match generation with demand.
If the biogas was unable to run through the gas-engine generator it would have to be flared, as per point 2, this however results in high CO2 emissions and wasting the potential energy and value of the biogas.
These were the challenges SA Water were facing when they approached us about using our storage to help them time-shift their energy use. What SA Water wanted and what wastewater treatment plants in general want is a stable, consistent source of heat, less maintenance and electricity when it’s needed – not simply when it’s produced – and that’s where 1414 Degrees’ GAS-TESS comes in as per point 1 on the diagram. It burns the biogas and stores the energy – so it doesn’t need to be flared and wasted or immediately used in gas engines to generate electricity.
The GAS-TESS safely burns untreated biogas at higher temperatures and stores the thermal energy which will time-shift the combustion of biogas. With 1414 Degrees GAS-TESS, SA Water will be able to store its biogas as latent heat. This heat can then pass through an energy recovery system, converting it into hot water and electricity on demand.
Other energy storage technologies, such as batteries or pumped hydro, could store the electrical energy generated from the reciprocating engines, however they are unable to produce the heat energy SA Water needs. Heat is the type of energy so many other Australian industries need as well. In fact heat energy provides an opportunity to impact world-wide heat networks.
As well as this unique capacity to provide both electricity and heat to consumers, the GAS-TESS offers many benefits that make it a competitive energy storage solution.
Sept 2017 – Executed SA Water Term Sheet and MOU for GAS-TESS installation at Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant
Jan 2019 – GAS-TESS has arrived on site at SA Water
May 2019 – GAS-TESS takes on biogas from SA Water
May 2019 – GAS-TESS commissioning complete
The progression of the GAS-TESS in just under two years speaks volumes to the efforts, dedication, and determination of the team as well as the continued support of our key stakeholders.
Australian Federal Government – Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
The Australian Federal Government has provided financial support to 1414 Degrees in developing the prototype and the TESS-IND. The Director of Accelerating Commercialisation visited the GAS-TESS site in March 2019.
South Australian Government
In December 2018 we received a commendation in the South Australian Premier’s Awards for the Energy Sector – Excellence in Innovation: Transformational Innovation. Additionally the South Australian Minister of Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan showed his support in launching the GAS-TESS.
Both 1414 Degrees and SA Water have embarked on an innovative venture. Since the commencement of the GAS-TESS journey we have built strong working relations with the team at SA Water.