What it is NOT

Because Terrajoule technology is unexpected, we summarize its distinctions:

  • Terrajoule does not use photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.
  • Terrajoule is not in direct competition with solar panels. Solar panels only compete in markets where storage has no value.
  • Terrajoule does not use chemical batteries to store energy. Terrajoule’s storage technology costs less than 20% of battery technology, is not cycle-limited, does not degrade, is not toxic, is not subject to spontaneous ignition, and does not use rare materials.
  • Terrajoule is not compressed air energy storage (CAES). CAES is a proven technology that costs much more than Terrajoule storage technology. Terrajoule storage exploits the phase change between steam and water to park energy until needed, using much lower pressure vessels, which are much cheaper for the same amount of energy storage.
  • Terrajoule is not CSP (Concentrated Solar Power). CSP is a package of technologies for utility-scale solar power above 100 MW, using molten salt for storage. Terrajoule uses similar thermodynamics, but is a fundamentally different technology package for 24/7 distributed-scale power – 100 kW to 10 MW and more. NOTE: A Mack truck and a Prius are both transportation vehicles, but they are not the same.
  • Terrajoule does not use steam turbines. Terrajoule uses reciprocating steam piston engines, which are distinct from steam turbines in two important ways
    -They retain their high efficiency at a scale below 1 MW, whereas turbines become inefficient and costly below 25 MW.
    -Turbines do not provide dispatchable power, rather they are tuned devices designed to function at a single power output level. They are not suited to adjust power output to follow a load, so they are not suitable for distributed applications, and cannot respond to changing power demands.
  • Terrajoule steam engines are highly efficient below 1 MW and retain their efficiency over a wide power range. These characteristics are essential for Terrajoule’s storage cost breakthrough.
  • Terrajoule does not use Stirling engines. Stirling engines are not steam engines, and do not have a viable energy storage method.
  • Terrajoule does not deploy new science or new materials. It is based on 300 years of steam engine evolution and 130 years of internal combustion engine evolution, and is entirely manufactured without challenge within today’s internal combustion engine supply chain.
  • Terrajoule is not capital intensive. Terrajoule was conceived to bypass the large capital requirements that have depressed returns on many renewable energy technology investments. To ramp up production rapidly to meet massive growth in electricity demand, Terrajoule needs no new factories, and needs no new manufacturing equipment, no new processes, and no new materials.
  • Terrajoule is not in competition with natural gas. Natural gas is a low-cost energy source, however its distribution to sites of electricity demand is limited. Terrajoule does not target the limited portion of emerging growth markets for electricity where natural gas is piped to the site.
  • Terrajoule does not supply power systems for residential siting.
  • Terrajoule does not target large utility-scale power stations. Utility-scale power stations provide electricity at its lowest value point, and there are daunting and costly obstacles to project funding and implementation. By contrast, Terrajoule supplies customer-owned power plants that offset electricity cost at its highest value point. However, Terrajoule is also advantageous for distributed utility power, where it adds value with flexible supply of power when and where its value is the highest.