- Antora Energy has set up a 2 MW dedicated production line for TPV cells in the US
- The cells offer over 40% efficiency by converting light emitted from a high-temperature hear source using cells similar to solar PV, it stated
- This zero-carbon heat and power can then be provided to the industrial sector on demand
California, US based energy start-up Antora Energy claims to have become the world’s largest producer of thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells after commissioning a 2 MW dedicated manufacturing line at its Sunnyvale headquarters to roll out cells with an efficiency level exceeding 40%.
Antora’s TPV cells comprise carbon blocks that are heated by renewable electricity, storing the low-cost, zero-emissions electricity generated to be directly delivered to industrial customers as heat and power on demand.
The company says its TPV technology has met the critical thresholds of high efficiency to compete with traditional heat engines and also demonstrate the capability to manufacture at scale.
Touting it to be the world’s 1st dedicated production line for TPV cells, Antora says this innovation can help cost-effective, large-scale replacement of fossil fuels used in the manufacturing processes for heat and power.
“This technology breakthrough could have major ramifications in sectors beyond manufacturing, including the electric grid, the built environment, and transportation,” said Antora Energy Co-Founder and CEO Andrew Ponec. “A new class of efficient, lightweight, and scalable heat engines could transform how industry thinks about thermal energy and electricity generation.”
While Antora doesn’t share details of the TPV technology, an April 2022 study published in the scientific journal Nature says TPV cells are 2-junction devices comprising III-V materials with bandgaps between 1.0 and 1.4 eV that are optimized for emitter temperatures of 1,900–2,400 °C.
“These cells can be integrated into a TPV system for thermal energy grid storage to enable dispatchable renewable energy. This creates a pathway for thermal energy grid storage to reach sufficiently high efficiency and sufficiently low cost to enable decarbonization of the electricity grid,” reads the study.
Antora is backed by the likes of the US Department of Energy (DOE), Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Shell Ventures, Grok Ventures and BHP Ventures among others.