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 that the sun shines in the daytime, but not at night.
The solution is to build a large amount of low-cost energy storage into solar-powered electric power plants.
In 2009, Terrajoule invented the practical breakthrough that yields energy storage at less than 20% of the cost of lithium-ion battery storage. Terrajoule storage does not degrade over time, has an unlimited number of 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 future electricity generation. Therefore Terrajoule power plants are mass-produced as 2 MW modular units, so that power plants can be built from 2 MW to 100 MW or more.
Each power plant unit generates ~5 GWh per year in typical locations. Energy storage is configurable from 6 MWh to 24 MWh net discharge capacity per unit. Peak dispatch power, 2 MW standard, is configurable up to 8 MW, to serve applications where there are large spikes in electricity market price or demand.
Terrajoule units add stability and security to electric grids, because they are a novel variant of Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (known as CST or CSP). The units provide high inherent inertia (> 6 seconds), rapid response (< 1 second), and rapid ramp rate (< 20 seconds to slew across the full power range). These specifications are retained at any scale, from 2 MW to 100 MW or more. Finally, the purpose of a new technology is to change the world in a big way, so it must be quickly and massively scalable to GW of distributed power generation, while depending on only modest amounts of investment capital. Therefore the system is built strictly with mature components from top-tier suppliers, on a foundation of existing 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. Reciprocating steam engines powered the industrial revolution, but who expected them to power the 21st century transition from fossil fuel to clean, dispatchable energy?