5 Thermal Energy Storage Startups to Rise in 2024

With the growing demand for clean energy, solar, and wind power fall short in providing a constant supply. Thus, there is an urgent need for new ways to store efficient, scalable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective energy.

Thermal energy storage (TES) systems emerge as a compelling alternative, offering the potential to address these challenges. TES systems store energy in heat or cold, which can be later used to generate power or provide thermal energy. 

Source: PNNL

This approach provides several advantages over conventional methods, including higher energy density, longer storage duration, and the ability to use waste heat or cold resources. 

Moreover, TES systems can significantly reduce carbon emissions and energy costs, making them an attractive option for integrating renewable energy into the grid and industrial applications.

This article explores five growth-stage startups in the energy storage sector working on solving critical challenges with thermal energy storage. 

These startups have the potential to grow rapidly, are in a good market position, or can introduce game-changing technology to the market in the next 2-3 years. 

This makes them a great option to partner with, collaborate with, or acquire.

Explore trends that will impact energy storage in 2024. Get access to the Energy Storage Trends 2024 report from here –

1. Fourth Power

Founding Year2021
HeadquarterMassachusetts, US
Total Funding Amount$19M
Last Funding Round/Amount$19M/Series A
Innovative TechUtilizing thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells

The intermittent nature of renewable energy sources like wind and solar presents a major obstacle to our transition from fossil fuels. Since renewable energy cannot be easily stored, it must be used when produced. 

This mismatch between supply and demand leads to inefficiencies and waste. During times of excess renewable energy production, utilities are forced to curtail and reject clean energy from the grid. Conversely, when renewables cannot meet demand, fossil fuel power plants must be fired up to fill the gap.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Fourth Power is pioneering a novel approach to thermal energy storage that can solve the above challenge. 

Their approach captures and stores excess renewable power as intense heat in a fully enclosed facility about half the size of a football field.

Liquid tin circulates through a closed loop of white-hot graphite pipes, acting as a thermal energy transfer and storage medium. This stored heat energy is converted back into electricity for the grid via thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells.

Like solar panels, the TPV cells generate power by capturing the infrared light emitted by the searing 2400°C graphite piping – essentially harnessing the concentrated energy of the sun enclosed in this pipe system.

The entire thermal battery is encased in an argon gas-filled warehouse to enable these ultra-high temperature operations and maximize system longevity. This inert atmosphere allows for safe, long-duration storage of renewable energy in the form of extreme heat.

The startup claims its thermal battery technology drastically undercuts lithium-ion costs, achieving around $25/kWh versus $330/kWh for lithium-ion, using inexpensive materials and a low-cost system design.

Its CEO, Arvin Ganesan, is a graduate of George Washington University and had previously worked for Apple as Head of Environment Policy. 

Fourth Power raised $19M in funding in a Series A round on Dec 12, 2023.

2. i-TES

Founding Year2016
HeadquarterPiemonte, Italy
Total Funding Amount€1.4M
Last Funding Round/Amount€1.4M/Series Unknown
Innovative TechLeverages phase change materials (PCMs) and thermochemical materials

Established in 2016, i-TES’s core focus is developing thermal storage batteries that leverage phase change materials (PCMs) and thermochemical materials (TCMs). These advanced materials harness the physical phenomenon of phase transitions to accumulate and release substantial amounts of energy.

Thermal energy storage startups

Fundamentally, PCMs and TCMs can absorb and release large quantities of heat when changing from one physical state to another, such as transitioning between liquid and solid phases and vice versa. This unique characteristic allows them to effectively store and discharge thermal energy, making them ideal for thermal storage applications.

The startup is based within the 2i3T Business Incubator and Technology Transfer of the University of Turin.

Its Co-founder and CEO, Michele Santovito, earned a doctorate degree in physical chemistry from the University of Turin.

i-TES has raised €1.4 million in a funding round in May 2023.

Founding Year2019
HeadquarterNew South Wales, Australia
Total Funding AmountA$8.5M
Last Funding Round/AmountA$8M/Series A
Innovative TechUtilizes its proprietary Miscibility Gap Alloy (MGA) technology

3. MGA Thermal

Adding renewable energy sources to a current power grid is difficult and expensive. It requires new equipment and changes to existing power plants, which can be both technically challenging and costly.

To overcome this hurdle, MGA Thermal offers a means to firm variable renewable generation into a versatile and reliable supply of process heat, cogeneration, or steam for electricity production.

Its proprietary Miscibility Gap Alloy (MGA) technology stores energy in modular blocks. This innovative approach allows for the efficient, scalable, and safe storage of thermal energy, making it ideal for both power generation and industrial heat applications.

Introducing the MGA Block

MGA Thermal is led by CEO Erich Kisi, a respected researcher with extensive experience in materials engineering. 

The startup raised 8 million Australian dollars in a Series A funding round in Aug 2021.

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4. Synchrostor

Founding Year2017
HeadquarterEdinburgh, UK
Total Funding Amount$19M
Last Funding Round/Amount$19M/Series A
Innovative TechA new approach for Pumped Thermal Energy Storage (PTES)

SynchroStor’s engineers have developed a patented new approach for Pumped Thermal Energy Storage (PTES) to solve challenges such as grid stability and varying power demand requirements. SynchroStor’s PTES technology is based on a high-pressure, positive-displacement, multi-cylinder ‘compressor-expander’ machine. 

During the charging cycle, the system utilizes electricity to run the compressor, raising the pressure and temperature of an operating gas. This hot gas then heats a thermal storage material in a heat exchanger, allowing the material to be stored in an insulated silo at atmospheric pressure.

Thermal energy storage startups

After transferring its heat to the storage material, the gas leaves the heat exchanger and enters the expander, where it drops in pressure and temperature. A second heat exchanger allows the now cold gas from the expander to cool another flow of storage material. This very cold material then exits the heat exchanger and is sent to a separate cold storage silo.

Thermal energy storage startups

The gas then returns to the compressor, and the cycle continues until the desired storage depth has been achieved or the operator chooses to charge the system partially.

Their approach utilizes abundant, locally-sourced, non-strategic materials, allowing large-scale deployment without straining the Earth’s resources. This supports the transition to clean energy and bolsters local economies, promoting a just and equitable energy transition. 

Its CEO and founder, Win Rampen, earned a Hydraulic Power transmission doctorate from The University of Edinburgh.

Synchrostor raised £9.4M from a Department for Energy Security & Net Zero Grant in Apr 2023.

5. Kraftblock

Founding Year2014
HeadquarterSaarland, Germany
Total Funding Amount€25.5M
Last Funding Round/Amount€20M/Series B
Innovative Techcombines high thermal conductivity with high specific heat capacity

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources in industrial processes presents a complex challenge due to the inherent intermittency of renewable energy, the inefficient management of waste heat, and the high upfront costs associated with infrastructure changes. These limitations create a significant financial barrier for businesses adopting sustainable practices. 

Kraftblock’s energy storage systems address these challenges by providing a comprehensive solution for industrial decarbonization. Through an advanced storage system, Kraftblock combines high thermal conductivity with high specific heat capacity, enabling long-duration energy storage of up to two weeks.  Kraftblock’s innovative storage material can store temperatures up to an impressive 1,300°C. 

The overall functionality of the storage system is straightforward: heat is transferred from a heat transfer medium to the storage material, where it is stored. When energy is required, the process is reversed – a cold transfer medium flows through the storage material, extracting the stored thermal energy.

This system solution empowers industrial companies to replace fossil energy with renewable sources and recycle industrial waste heat, promoting sustainability and energy efficiency.

Thermal energy storage startups

The Kraftblock container has a lifespan of over 15,000 cycles. One use per day corresponds to a service life of over 40 years. 

Its founder & CEO, Martin Schichtel, has a doctorate in Chemistry/Nanotechnology, which he earned from the University of Saarland. 

Kraftblock raised €25.5M in funding. The latest was a Series B round in August 2023.

Partner with these cutting-edge startups to solve your industry’s toughest challenges and stay competitive. 

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Authored By – Vipin Singh, Market Research

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