Decarbonization at the scale required to satisfy global warming mitigation objectives would need a major redesign of global infrastructure. Heavy industry is a significant and sometimes disregarded component of the problem.
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has conducted a substantial study on the subject. Gates noted in his 2021 book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” that the process of producing cement, steel, and plastic is the single largest contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. This is primarily due to the fact that the high-temperature heat required for industrial operations is often provided by natural gas.
Through his investment arm, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Gates is now financing a start-up that is in the early phases of using technology to solve the issue, CNBC reports.
Antora Energy, which was founded in 2018, turns zero-emission energy from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar farms into heat, which it stores in solid carbon blocks that are insulated in a kind of thermal battery. The stored energy is then utilized as heat in industrial operations that produce materials such as cement and steel, or it is transformed into electricity.
Antora said Wednesday that it has received $50 million in a fundraising round headed by Breakthrough and Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital in order to achieve its lofty aims. Shell’s venture arm also contributed to the transaction.
The Antora thermal battery will be the size of a small home or a huge truck trailer and will be designed to replace a natural gas boiler. If Antora is successful, it will sell to huge industrial businesses, offering a lower-cost zero-emissions option.
Antora is still a lab project for the time being. CEO Andrew Ponec said that deployments would not begin until late 2023.