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Aramco, Rondo Energy Studying GW-Scale Thermal Storage, Hydrogen, Carbon Capture Deployment

A major global energy and chemicals company has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a provider of lower-carbon industrial heat and power, with the groups beginning engineering studies for a project showcasing thermal energy storage, hydrogen production, and carbon capture. Saudi Arabia-based Aramco and California-headquartered Rondo Energy said they executed the MoU on May 16. The project involves the first industrial-scale deployment of Rondo's heat batteries in Aramco's global facilities to reduce operating costs and support Aramco's plan to reduce carbon emissions. The companies said the project could subsequently scale up to 1 GWh, with an assessment for additional scale deployment at Aramco facilities worldwide. The companies also said they would explore joint development of novel applications of the Rondo Heat Battery technology, including hydrogen production and carbon capture. Aramco Ventures concluded an equity investment in Rondo Energy in July of last year. The Rondo Heat Battery supplies continuous energy from stored wind and solar power, providing the power at the gigawatt scale and high temperatures needed for industrial processes.

Want to learn more about thermal energy storage, hydrogen production, and carbon capture technologies? All those topics and more will be part of Experience POWER Week, including Experience POWER, the Distributed Energy Conference, and HydrogeNext, Oct. 9-11, 2024, in Orlando, Florida. Register today!

"Aramco has stated its ambitions to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 across its wholly owned and operated assets, and sees opportunities to build substantial lower-carbon new energy business," said Ali Al-Meshari, Aramco senior vice president of Technology, Oversight & Coordination. "Innovative technologies deployed at scale are needed to reduce the costs of emissions reduction, and we are investing heavily in developing these through our R&D [research and development], venture capital and technology deployment programs. We see Rondo's technology having widespread potential application globally and in the Middle east specifically, backed by a team with a track record of delivery."

Industry, Hydrogen, Carbon Capture, Desalination

Beyond deployments planned at Aramco facilities, the companies will also assess the potential to develop other applications for Rondo's battery technology. The companies plan a joint R&D investigation to explore the applicability of the heat batteries in hydrogen production, carbon capture, and direct air capture projects. The technology can also be applied in large-scale solar desalination facilities. As renewables become more deeply integrated in the grid, today's thermal desalination facilities face economic and operating challenges. Rondo Energy said its batteries can quickly convert these facilities to deliver water and power with lower carbon emissions and lower cost than replacing them.

Local Value Creation

Rondo Heat Batteries store energy in long-proven brick materials that can be cost-effectively produced with Saudi Arabia's mineral resources. The companies will assess the potential of establishing large-scale energy storage manufacturing in that country. "Rondo is working with one of the world's biggest energy producers towards solving one of the world's biggest energy challenges—low-cost clean energy for industry," said Rondo CEO John O'Donnell. "We're thrilled to announce this MoU with Aramco aimed at delivering lower-carbon energy solutions that can help Aramco achieve their decarbonization ambitions, and support the world's critical needs for solar desalination and clean hydrogen." The signing of the MoU was witnessed by Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy, and His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, Minister of Energy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Rondo and its partners were recently selected to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for several U.S.-based Rondo Heat Battery deployments, and this collaboration with Aramco highlights the DOE's Office of International Market Development goal of enhancing and revitalizing U.S. competitiveness in the rapidly expanding global clean energy and infrastructure marketplace, while creating clean energy jobs in the U.S. and ensuring stable and secure supply chains. POWER edited this content, which was contributed by Rondo Energy's communications department.