POWERSTEP partner Electrochaea a finalist for Start Up Energy Transition Award
Article published originally by Start Up Energy Transition on 8 March.
Award Finalist: Electrochaea will disrupt the power storage market
Meet our next finalist! With its headquarters in Munich/Germany and an affiliate company in Denmark Electrochaea is operating in two countries where energy transition definitely is a main topic. Their proprietary power-to-gas-technology opens completely new dimensions in the field of energy storage. This is what we call disruption! We’re happy to have them on stage at our Tech Festival and even more happy that we were able to talk to Mich Hein, the Managing Director, upfront. Learn about the technology, the business model and the awesomeness.
Describe your product and its history! What is your unique value proposition and your business model?
Electrochaea is developing a disruptive grid-scale energy and carbon storage technology known as power-to-gas. Our process converts low-cost and stranded electricity into pipeline-grade renewable gas for direct injection into the existing natural gas grid. The core of our power-to-gas system is a selectively evolved microorganism – a methanogenic archaea – that excels through unprecedented catalytic ability and industrial robustness.
The technical advantages of our solution translate into lower capital and operating costs and greater operational flexibility than conventional thermochemical methanation processes. Electrochaea will license well capitalized partners and customers to use it‘s proprietary technology, designs and catalyst and will collect revenues from sales of licensed products, contracts for design, engineering, operations and maintenance of its licensed systems.
What is your vision in regards to the future of the energy economy? And how does your product contribute to this future?
Our technology offers a solution to the pressing problems of excess electricity, lack of green fuels, supply-demand imbalances and need for grid de-congestion beyond software solutions. Increasing amounts of renewable power are not being fully utilized when supply exceeds demand, increasing the need for storing energy. As a result, the global market for energy storage is growing rapidly to supply the need to store excess renewable energy, to further decarbonize the power and transportation sectors and improve grid reliability.
Electrochaea‘s proprietary technology provides a high efficiency system to convert renewable electrical power and CO2 into methane, for longterm storage and distribution of renewable energy and CO2 mitigation. Thus Electrochaea’s technology is the perfect match for large scale energy storage, optimizing use of renewable power generation assets allowing long term planing for utilities.
What are, in your opinion, the key challenges of the energy transition in general, and what are they specifically for your startup?
To date, the electricity and gas markets have been linked uni-directionally: from gas to power. However, the transition to a 100% renewable energy systems is challenging the status quo of electricity generation. Electrochaea’s game-changing technology reverses this energy flow, to convert electrical power into chemical energy in methane: “Power to Gas”.
This process allows arbitrage between electricity and gas prices with the greatest possible flexibility to maximize value creation in each side of the market at any point in time. By linking the power and gas grids bi-directionally, our process eliminates the time dependency of electricity generation and allows large capacity storage and redistribution of energy with minimal investment in new infrastructure. Consequently, tax-payers and utilities will maximize benefits of the transition to a green economy.
Where are you based, and who are the key innovation drivers in the energy ecosystem in your region?
Electrochaea’s headquarters are in Munich with an affiliate company in Avedore, Denmark. Together, Germany and Denmark are game-changer countries in the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies as well as pioneers in the search for large scale energy and carbon storage solutions. The company’s strategic location in Germany, being the biggest Power-To-Gas R&D country, and Denmark the country with the highest penetration of wind power in its energy mix around the world and an aggressive gas grid decarbonization strategy.
Consequently, the ecosystem around us has allowed us to raise both local and international interest in our technology and to meet the growing need for storing energy. As markets approach 100% renewable energy generation, Power-to-Gas provides an opportunity for power production without additional curtailment, enabling grid destabilization at no additional costs than required for energy storage.
Which results for your startup do you expect from the Tech Festival by DENA in March 2017?
We are currently seeking funding for our Series-B financing round and the opportunity to present our game changing technology to international investors and incumbent industry partners. By showcasing our solution for decarbonizing the gas grid and allowing the integration of growing renewable energy into the system, we hope to attract financing and partnerships to unlock the barriers of energy storage. The event will allow us to further increase interest in our technology, enlarge our network and identify the most attractive business models for creating value from large scale carbon and energy storage.
Electrochaea offers a proprietary biocatalyst-based power-to-gas technology covered by multiple international patents that economically recycles CO2 while simultaneously using stranded electric power to produce biological methane that can be stored on the gas grid. The first industrial-scale pilot plant is operating successfully in Denmark. The company expects to have plants with more than one gigawatt of capacity up and running by 2025. Electrochaea has 20 employees in its facilities in Denmark and and in Munich-Planegg.