Off-peak power from renewables in SPP causes the wholesale price of electricity to go to zero or less (with incentives). In that area, the incentives drive the generation of power when it is not necessarily needed. However, this generation is intermittent. Effective and reliable storage of such energy in the form of heat can provide reliable heat for industrial use. The Antora process uses resistance heating of carbon blocks to drive up the temperature of the blocks. The blocks then radiate heat to the desired process. Carbon blocks are used because they can be heated to high temperatures in a stable manner. They are generally low in cost and highly scalable with an existing supply chain. The material has a high thermal conductivity and a high specific heat. The technology has been used in graphitization furnaces for many years. The use of radiation to move the heat allows large quantities of heat without circulating a fluid through the system. The system is modular. Shutters can be used to modulate the amount of energy being delivered to an industrial process. A pilot system is currently deployed at a site in California. The system is a 5 Mwhr storage system, intended as the foundation for a single module. Success of this system would allow industrial thermal heat to be supplied by renewable electric power.
– David Bierman, Antora Energy