INDUSTRY NEWS

2
Jul

The 2012 Tech Soap Box Winner Is…

Looking forward is the name of the game when it comes to the energy storage industry. We recognize the need to provide a platform for new companies to present new energy storage technologies that could be the key to a sustainable future. Therefore the need to constantly innovate gave rise to the Tech Soap Box segment of our Energy Storage Forum.

4 speakers, 10 minutes, each focusing on an innovative key technology. The Tech Soap Box session is a unique feature of Dufresne’s Energy Storage Forum where 4 speakers closely examine and compare the advantages and disadvantages of different energy storage technologies in a unique setting, all within the time limit of 10 minutes.

While the recent Tech Soap Box session is still fresh in everyone’s minds, we spoke to Mr Sergio Koren, CEO of Arothron Ltd, the speaker voted by the delegates as the best presenter of the Tech Soap Box session to better understand his perspective and vision of a sustainable future.

ESF: Why did you decide to focus your company’s efforts on compressed air solutions for energy rather than embark on research on new battery chemistry?

Sergio: Our goal is to bring a sustainable and practical bulk energy storage solution on time, to meet the market’s needs. In order to achieve this goal, we have to reduce risks related to research and development. This is why we chose to come up with an innovative solution that relies on known and proven technologies and not to research for new battery chemistries.

ESF: What is the unique selling point of your solution?

Sergio: The most cost effective technologies for bulk energy storage are CAES (compressed Air Energy Storage) and Pumped-Hydro storage. Their main drawback is that they are restricted to suitable geological formations or topographical landscape. Our solution expands considerably the potential sites for CAES by storing the compressed air in large and rigid man-made structures, anchored to the sea or lake base, while maintaining very competitive installed costs ($/kW, $/kWh) and Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE).

ESF: What was it like having only 10 minutes to present during the Tech Soap Box segment of the conference?

Sergio: First I would like to applaud the organizers again for bringing this unique platform for start-ups to present their solution to such a relevant and wide audience and to thank them for inviting me to speak. It was a very challenging task yet it helped me a lot to stay focused on the most important issues and on how to deliver them in a comprehensible manner. Besides the excitement of the whole process and winning, we are already experiencing a rising interest from the storage community with new opportunities to put forward.

True success in the genesis of a renewable future rests squarely upon the creativity of the human mind and Arothron Ltd. seems steered in the right direction. With greater research efforts and interest invested in energy storage, the fuel powering the future could well be human innovation.

Application to be a speaker for the Energy Storage Forum’s 2013 Tech Soap Box session is now open. If you represent a company that has less than 10 employees with an innovative energy storage solution to share, click here to apply.

About the company:

Arothron Ltd. is a young enterprise established in February 2011. The company’s name draws inspiration from the Latin term for the puffer-fish. The company’s mission is to promote compressed air solutions for energy, specifically focusing on underwater compressed air energy storage (UWCAES). This idea aims to resolve one of the main delaying issues of the CAES solution, i.e. its geological formation dependency and limited deployment in specific sites. The idea is to store large amounts of energy in large and rigid man-made compressed air structures anchored to the sea base. Special attention is paid to ensure cost-effectiveness and competitiveness, not only by enlarging potential sites for CAES but also and mainly on an economical basis. The company has undergone an analytical proof of concept, including technical and economical feasibility studies by external experts and is looking for partners and investors from the energy community in order to progress to the next level of field testing. The IP of the company has been secured by a PCT and it is now in the national phase. 

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