Interseasonal energy storage has been a problem for the solar energy industry for many years. The goal of storing solar energy surplus during the summer for use in the winter has shown to be unachievable, as current options such as batteries have proved to be too costly and have short lifespans. In contrast, because of its high cost and inefficiency, hydrogen has been ignored despite having the ability to burn cleanly.

A startup called Photoncycle has been developing a remedy since it emerged from the bottom of an accelerator in Oslo Science Park in Oslo, Norway. The startup asserts that their solid hydrogen-based technology can store energy more effectively in an ammonia synthesis reactor, with a vision as bright as the summer sun. It is said that this technology provides storage at a lower cost than any battery or marketable hydrogen liquid solution.
An illustration of how Photoncycle wants the entire system to be set up in a home. Picture Source: Photoncycle

Expensive metals are used in lithium-ion batteries. Our material is quite inexpensive; it costs about $1,500 to store 10,000 kilowatt-hours, which is practically nothing. Furthermore, our storage technology doesn’t lose current and has 20 times the density of a lithium-ion battery, as founder and CEO Bjørn Brandtzaeg notes in a TechCrunch interview. This indicates that we have a mechanism that allows seasonal storage by allowing you to contain energy across time. It is not the same as conventional batteries at all.

Hydrogen is created by photoncycle using electricity and water. If you’ve been following fuel cell vehicle technology, that isn’t unusual in and of itself. Nonetheless, the business’s strategy

features a novel twist: a high-temperature fuel cell that is reversible. This sophisticated fuel cell has the ability to simultaneously create energy and hydrogen.
The way that Photoncycle handles hydrogen is the fundamental source of its innovation. After processing the hydrogen, they transform and store it in a solid state using their technology. Because solid state is neither combustible nor explosive, the company asserts that this storage method is not only safe but also very effective. It represents a major breakthrough in hydrogen storage solutions as it allows for the storage of hydrogen at densities that are about 50% higher than those of liquid hydrogen. These developments serve as the system’s cornerstone and enable safe and dense hydrogen storage, which the business claims represents a significant advancement in energy technology.

Because weather patterns are unpredictable, current renewable energy alternatives like rooftop solar power are constrained by intermittent supply. When these renewable sources experience inevitable intermittent periods, a reliable, reusable energy storage system might fill the gap in timing and guarantee a steady supply of electricity.

In theory excellent, but not without its own difficulties.

“The nation with the highest density of rooftop solar in Europe is the Netherlands.” Due to rising energy costs, there is currently a huge upsurge in demand for solar panels on roofs, according to Brandtzaeg. However, he notes that householders may experience unintended consequences from this approach: “In July of last year, in the Netherlands, you had to pay €500 a megawatt hour to export your electricity in the middle of the day.”

Placing the

Houses are able to operate off the grid when they have energy storage combined with efficient home generation. The next stage, according to Photoncycle, is to incorporate its solution into a system after the key components have been tested and proven to function. The business claims that if it is effective, it can pose a severe threat to Tesla’s lithium-ion battery solution, Powerwall.

Because of the relative complexity of this system, numerous PhDs from various fields are working on it. Elon Musk claimed that hydrogen was foolish since a significant amount of energy is lost during the conversion of power to hydrogen and back, according to Brandtzaeg. He thinks his business can make this flaw a benefit. There is a chance to use the extra heat in a domestic setting—where heating accounts for 70% of energy consumption—to produce hot water. We will focus on areas where people already heat their homes with natural gas, and we’ll leverage the water-based infrastructure already in place to replace the home’s gas boiler.

It’s hard not to be impressed by Brandtzaeg’s faith in the concept’s operational foundation. He motioned in the direction of a miniature, car-battery-sized model of their operational plant in one of their labs. Brandtzaeg cites this scaling as the main reason they felt confidence proceeding with the project and believes it should be problem-free.

Because it takes some time for the hydrogen to produce electricity, the business uses a conventional battery as a stand-in for load balancing while the hydrogen builds up. Investors are clearly taking notice of the company, as Photoncycle just received $5.3 million (€5 million) to construct its first few power storage devices in Denmark, which it has designated as its test market.

“Considering the interest, we could have raised ten times as much as we did.” But following my rise, I’m still the dominant owner, according to Brandtzaeg. “My goal was to maintain ownership of the company for as long as possible and avoid raising more money than was required to launch this service.”


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