Italy’s Enel, Israel’s Brenmiller Inaugurate Rock-Based Storage System ‘TES’ in Italy

Highlights :

  • The pilot is the result of the synergy between Enel and Brenmiller, applied for the first time in the world at the Santa Barbara power plant in Tuscany, Italy.
  • The TES technology allows energy to be stored as heat and makes the power plant more flexible, credit to Brenmiller’s innovative solution, with room to expand the decarbonization of industrial heating demand.
Italy’s Enel, Israel’s Brenmiller Inaugurate Rock-Based Storage System ‘TES’ in Italy Italy's Enel Green Power Kickstarts Agrivoltaic Solar Project of 170 MW Capacity

The largest utility in Italy Enel Group and Israeli firm Brenmiller Energy have set up an innovative, sustainable rock based energy storage system in Tuscany in Italy which is completely sustainable and capable of accelerating the energy transition.

The integration of the thermal energy storage (TES) system with the existing power plant enables Enel and Brenmiller to test the technology in the field, in challenging operating conditions and on a large scale. The system offers reduced power plant start-up times and greater speed in load variations, which are necessary performance requirements to enable the efficient use of renewable energy.

Enel held that this system can be used to store excess energy produced from renewable sources in the form of heat to offer decarbonization services to industrial customers and to integrate long-term storage solutions with renewable plants.

Brenmiller Energy developed the technology in Israel and supplied the storage system; Enel integrated the system with its Santa Barbara power plant and helped to validate its performance in a real environment.

The Technology

The TES technology utilizes a two-stage charge and discharge process to provide thermal energy. During the charging phase, steam produced by the Santa Barbara facility passes through pipes to heat adjacent crushed rocks; during the discharging phase, the accumulated heat is released to heat pressurized water and generate steam for electricity. This first-of-its-kind TES system can store up to 24 MWh of clean heat at a temperature of about 550°C for five hours, providing critical resiliency to the power plant.

Salvatore Bernabei, Head of Enel Green Power and Thermal Generation, said, “Flexibility and adequacy are two fundamental components of an efficient and reliable electricity system, which can be supplied more and more efficiently by storage. This trial allows us to validate a family of innovative and sustainable technologies in the segment of long-term storage, which will allow for an ever greater integration of renewables into the grid.”

“Our TES system at Enel’s Santa Barbara power plant in Tuscany is the first-ever system of its kind to provide utility-scale thermal energy storage and offers commercial and industrial users a viable path towards decarbonization,” said Avi Brenmiller, Chairman and CEO of Brenmiller Energy.

The collaboration between Enel and Brenmiller came about as part of an Italian-Israeli collaboration protocol aimed at accelerating cooperation between Israeli companies and large Italian industries. The TES project was partly financed by the Israeli Innovation Authority, which supported Brenmiller with 1 million euros in financing.

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