Terrajoule was founded in 2009 to resolve the fundamental barrier to the widespread adoption of solar power as the most practical and economic source of new electricity generation for the 21st century.
That barrier is intermittency, and the solution is to build energy storage into the systems that convert solar energy into electric power.
In 2009, Terrajoule’s CTO Robert Mierisch invented the practical breakthrough that yields energy storage at less than 20% of the cost of any form of battery storage, per kWh electrical of storage capacity. Terrajoule storage does not degrade over time, has no limitation on charge-discharge cycles, lasts at least 25 years, and utilizes no toxic or rare materials.
Further, Terrajoule’s strategy is based on the conviction that distributed power generation will play a much larger role in electricity generation than it has before. Therefore Terrajoule power plants are modular from 100 kW to 10 MW and more.
Finally, the purpose of introducing a new technology is to make a major difference to the world. This requires that it be quickly and massively scalable to GW of distributed power generation with modest amounts of investment capital. Therefore the system components are all established technologies built within existing automotive and industrial supply chains worldwide. Ramping up production requires no new factories, no new materials, and no new manufacturing equipment or processes.
Major problems are sometimes resolved with unexpected solutions. That is the case with Terrajoule. Who expected that reciprocating steam piston engines would play a major role in 21st century energy growth? Reciprocating steam engines powered the industrial revolution and steam itself is ubiquitous throughout industry to this day. Actually it is the phase change between steam and water that makes water a fundamental component of both life and industrial processes. Steam is fundamental to the conversion between thermal energy and electricity, and steam piston engines built with modern automotive technology are back.