- Published: 08 September 2020 08 September 2020
A new type of thermal storage material, housed in blocks like Lego(c)*, could see coal-fired power stations converted to run entirely fossil-fuel free. The 20cm x 30cm x 16cm blocks are made from non-toxic, 100 percent recyclable material. Made from materials with high thermal conductivity, MGA blocks work by storing heat energy.
The MGA blocks are made of two components. One component melts when heated to store energy, and the other acts as a matrix, keeping the block in solid form and embedding the melting particles.
The solution, patented by the University of Newcastle, can be retrofitted to retired power plants or introduced to existing power plants to help them transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Stackable like Lego(c), MGA blocks can be added or removed to scale the system up or down to meet market demand. MGA Thermal has partnered with Swiss company, E2S Power, to design a technology to retrofit and repurpose retired and active coal-fired plants in Europe using MGA blocks.
The spin-out company MGA Thermal will continue to commercialise their MGA block technology licensed to it by the University. With close to $1million combined funding from CP Ventures and an Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Accelerating Commercialisation Grant, the MGA Thermal team are establishing a NSW-based manufacturing plant to scale production of their modular blocks to commercial levels.
*Lego(c) is a trademark of the Lego Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorise or endorse this content.