The startup, founded in 2018, announced yesterday that it has raised the amount in an investment round lead by the two funds, with seven other investors completing the lineup, including Shell Ventures.
Antora’s approach is to use energy generated from renewables like solar and wind and and convert it into heat, stored in solid carbon blocks. Those blocks of stored energy are then used as heat sources in industries where high temperatures are needed to manipulate steel and cement.
The conditions that have allowed this approach to become possible are wind and solar’s falling prices.
“It’s only in the last few years that you’ve had wind and solar get cheap enough that you may be able to compete directly with fossil fuels for something like industrial heat,” Ponec commented on their challenge to the status quo.
But for now this it is still at a prototype level. Antora Energy CEO Andrew Ponec expected the first units to be online around the end of 2023. If successful, this so-called “thermal battery” will be able to displace the widespread natural gas boilers found in heavy industry plants.
Carmichael Roberts from Breakthrough Ventures commented on the partnership: “Clean energy storage for industrial heat and power will be a key enabler of tomorrow’s zero carbon world. We look forward to our partnership with Antora to help bring their critical new product to market.”
Chris Sacca, Chairman at Lowercarbon Capital, said, “Antora makes heat and electricity from solar panels cheaper than burning gas. That’s lights out for fossil fuels.”