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Woodside deal to reignite energy storage company 1414 Degrees

Business

Listed clean energy company 1414 Degrees has partnered with Australia’s largest natural gas company Woodside Petroleum to develop its latest renewable energy storage technology.

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Adelaide-based 1414 Degrees announced last week it had signed agreements with Woodside Energy Technologies Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Woodside.

Under the deal, Woodside will contribute up to $2m to the 1 MWh SiBox demonstration module on the completion of specific project milestones by 1414 Degrees.

The SiBox technology stores intermittent renewable energy using silicon to produce reliable, clean, high-temperature heat, replacing the need to burn coal or gas.

“This is positive news for 1414 Degrees. We couldn’t have a better partner in Woodside as we continue to advance our SiBox renewable energy technology,” said 1414 Degrees CEO Matt Squire.

“Our core belief is that renewable electricity is now a necessity and will only grow in abundance.

“This is also particularly relevant as the world faces rising energy costs, gas shortages and a strong desire to decarbonise.

“This partnership with Woodside is a vote of confidence in our SiBox renewable energy storage and the continued advancement of our technology that utilises the latent heat properties of silicon.”

The project offers somewhat of a new start for 1414 Degrees, which has faced several major challenges since on the ASX in September 2018 after raising $16.3 million as part of its IPO.

The company’s share price nosedived in June last year following a review, which showed its initial thermal energy storage system, known as TESS and being trialled at SA Water’s Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant, was less efficient and reliable than previously forecast.

In June this year, the company formally parted ways with its managing director Jamie Summons after just six months, following an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct.

Squire, who has extensive experience in the oil and gas, power generation and broader energy sector working for Australian and international publicly-listed companies including Beach Energy, QGC, BG Group, Santos and Origin Energy, was appointed CEO in July.

1414 Degrees has also taken over SolarReserve’s ill-fated Aurora site near Port Augusta where it plans to build a solar farm and grid-scale energy storage system.

Construction of the SiBox module is expected to begin in Adelaide next year.

The validation project is scheduled to be commissioned in early 2023 with a series of operational tests to be performed into 2024. Following the review of results, Woodside will have to jointly develop and commercialise the SiBox technology with 1414 Degrees.

Squire said SiBox would provide a much simpler solution than hydrogen.

“Our SiBox design is both simple and scalable in its concept and can replace the use of gas or fossil fuels with renewable heat for a large array of energy customers,” he said.

“We look forward to cementing our partnership with Woodside as we continue to develop the capabilities of 1414 Degrees SiBox technology and progress our Aurora Energy Project near Port Augusta.”

Woodside Petroleum has a market capitalisation of about $24 billion. It announced a merger plan with BHP’s oil and gas business in August, which is expected to be finalised as early as this month.

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