A financing round led by Decarbonization Partners will accelerate production of Antora Energy’s factory-made thermal batteries.

SUNNYVALE, Calif.—Industry is the single biggest driver of climate change, accounting for 30 percent of global emissions, according to Breakthroughenergy.org  (https://breakthroughenergy.org/our-approach/grand-challenges/). While wind and solar have become the cheapest sources of new electricity on the planet, industry has been largely unable to tap into this clean energy potential for a simple reason: There hasn’t been a cost-effective way to store intermittent renewable energy at industrial scale, according to a release from Antora Energy,

Antora Energy, a manufacturer of modular thermal batteries, may have found an answer. The company works to bridge the gap between renewable energy and industrial manufacturing, supplying zero-emissions heat and power to factories with batteries made in America.

The company said it leverages renewable electricity to heat blocks of solid carbon—a low-cost, earth-abundant, and safe storage medium that’s used extensively across industries—to glowing hot temperatures in an insulated module. The stored heat is then reliably delivered at the scale and temperatures that large industrial operations demand.

Antora’s thermal battery is reported to “output electricity at breakthrough efficiencies” using the company’s thermophotovoltaic (TPV) technology. The technology converts the stored heat directly into electricity without the drawbacks of a conventional heat engine.

Antora manufactures the modular thermal batteries at its factory in San Jose, where they roll off the production line ready to be road-shipped for simple installation at industrial sites. The company expects its thermal batteries will have a significant impact on decarbonizing industrial energy while creating U.S. jobs, spurring America’s manufacturing sector, and strengthening domestic supply chains.

“When it comes to decarbonizing industry, we have no time to waste,” said Andrew Ponec, co-founder and CEO of Antora Energy, in the release.

Antora’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed by the venture capital community. The company recently raised a $150 million Series B funding round led by Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek. According to Antora Energy, the financing round will enable the company to “ramp production of its factory-made thermal batteries to deliver billions of dollars of zero-emissions energy to industrial customers.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Decarbonization Partners and all of our exceptional investors to supercharge Antora’s growth,” Ponec continued. “This financing enables us to build and deploy our thermal batteries even faster, moving full speed ahead to decarbonize industry in the United States and around the world. “Because our thermal batteries are factory-manufactured in the United States, this is not only an investment in Antora, it’s an investment in U.S. jobs, manufacturing, and leadership in the clean energy transition.”

According to the release, the latest funding brings Antora’s total funding to more than $230 million. In addition to support from private investors, Antora said it received critical early and ongoing support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO); the National Science Foundation; and the California Energy Commission (CEC).

The funding follows some significant milestones achieved by Antora since the company  announced its Series A funding in 2022. Over the past year, Antora introduced its commercial-scale thermal battery, a factory-built system that stores energy at temperatures hot enough to address “hard-to-decarbonize” sectors, such as cement and steel. The company opened its

U.S.-based thermal battery manufacturing facility, where Antora will produce its thermal battery modules for the company’s first major commercial projects.

The company also built a dedicated manufacturing line for thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells and demonstrated an efficiency greater than 40 percent for its TPV technology. Antora said the technology unlocks “the dual heat and power output needed to completely eliminate fossil fuel combustion in today’s manufacturing processes.” The TPV technology was recognized as one of Time’s Best Inventions of 2023 and one of Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas.

Additional participants in the financing round included Emerson Collective, GS Futures, The Nature Conservancy, and a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. They participated alongside  existing investors Trust Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BHP Ventures, Overture VC, and Grok Ventures.