MGA Thermal raises $5.7m despite minor setback for pilot energy storage program

MGA Thermal raises $5.7m despite minor setback for pilot energy storage program

(L-R) MGA Thermal's executive chair and chief scientist Erich Kisi and CEO Mark Croudace
 

Sydney-based clean energy company MGA Thermal has raised $5.7 million to scale and prove the industrial capabilities of its thermal energy storage system, despite a minor setback from its pilot program.

The latest round, which is backed by existing investors Main Sequence and Melt Ventures while introducing clean-tech partnership JEKARA as a new investor, boosts its recent round total to $14 million and takes total funding and grants secured by MGA Thermal to $28.8 million since inception.

MGA Thermal has been working towards development of a long-duration renewable energy storage system using its cutting-edge Miscibility Gaps Alloy (MGA) thermal blocks and Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system for industrial applications.

The shoebox-sized thermal energy storage blocks are designed specifically for energy storage, offering higher density than traditional energy storing materials.

While MGA Thermal initiated the commissioning process for its demonstration unit at the end of last year, the company says it had to temporarily pause operations to address a number of areas it had identified to improve the system.

The storage pilot program is located at the company’s manufacturing facility at Tomago near Newcastle.

“This was a valuable learning opportunity that will ultimately strengthen our TES system development,” says MGA Thermal CEO Mark Croudace.

“We’ve gained insights that will help accelerate our progress as we prepare to resume commissioning of our demonstration unit.”

Croudace says MGA Thermal “remains at the forefront of clean energy innovation and large-scale energy storage”.

“Our mission and intention of revolutionising the renewable energy landscape has never been stronger, and with the continued support of our investors and partners, we remain on track to reach our next business milestone of commercial-scale operations and energy output,” he says.

MGA Thermal notes that the latest capital raising reinforces the “critical need for easily executed industrial decarbonisation applications for hard-to-abate industries including mining, mineral processes and manufacturing”. 

Among the company’s ambitions is to develop a long-duration renewable energy storage system that can potentially transform coal-fired power plants into green energy hubs.

The latest investment round will support MGA Thermal’s next phase of testing to reinstate and prove the scale of its TES system and produce sufficient high-pressure, high-temperature clean steam for rising industrial demand.

MGA Thermal notes that steam power, which is the cornerstone of modern manufacturing, underpins nearly every major industrial process and constitutes about a quarter of Australia’s total energy demand.

The MGA Thermal technology is aimed at forming a critical part of the future energy mix by delivering long-term energy storage solutions using solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources to power its planned facilities.

The company says its solution was particularly critical amid the growing pressure on carbon-intensive industries in the manufacturing and mining sectors.

“We have continued working with numerous industrial partners and clients over the last six months which cannot solely rely on solar, wind and renewable energy sources to meet their decarbonisation goals,” says Croudace.

“We’re excited to realise the next phase of our partnerships through the implementation of an on-site MGA Thermal TES system to supply ongoing clean-steam and energy storage capabilities.”
MGA Thermal is targeting the abatement of 30 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide by 2030, or the equivalent of more than 23 years of commercial flights from Sydney to Los Angeles should its technology be commercialised.

The company says the demonstration unit represents a milestone in bringing the technology to the market and paves the way to deploying larger systems. 

MGA Thermal’s technology last year caught the eye of energy giant Shell, which awarded the company a US$400,000 ($560,000) grant through its GameChanger program for energy startups.

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