Large-scale thermal energy storage. Developed by: EnergyNest

With solar, wind, and hydro power, there is an abundance of renewable energy for the planet. The problem comes in harnessing this energy and making it available when and where it’s needed. Energy storage is essential for balancing grid demand. Yet traditional approaches to large-scale energy storage rely on complex, cost-intensive, high-tech solutions. Energy-Nest’s creators spent five years developing and validating a new, simple approach to thermal energy storage.

Their out-of-the-box thinking led to the development of a box. Namely, a game-changing system of modular storage elements that are scalable, durable and easy to install and operate. Since the two main materials – concrete and steel – are broadly available and fully recyclable, the technology can be deployed in any geographical area and location, and more than 80 percent of the EnergyNest’s materials can be sourced locally.

EnergyNest delivers four combined or independent energy streams—electricity, process steam, district heating and cooling—with 90 percent “round-trip” energy efficiency. The solution is at least 50 percent cheaper than any other storage alternative like batteries or molten salt. 

If the EnergyNest innovation, or others like, penetrates 20 percent of the target market by 2027, the global greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 39 million tons of CO2e annually. By storing energy, EnergyNest can make better use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. EnergyNest also lowers the total cost for concentrated solar (CSP) and thereby speeds up the market penetration of this technology. EnergyNest also captures and stores heat that would otherwise go to waste.  

EnergyNest has been operating a pilot facility for over a year, demonstrating its technology. And is now working on a larger scale industrial project. The company is raising additional capital aimed at boosting its marketing efforts, as well as developing even better storage materials.

Harald Norvik, Chairman of EnergyNest, is former head of Statoil ASA and a well-known expert in the global energy industry.  
Dr. Christian Thiel is CEO and has worked with top-tier companies including McKinsey, BMW and Senvion.
Dr. Pål G. Bergan is Chief Technology Officer and was a professor at NTNU, Trondheim and the University of California, Berkeley.