Iron powder is an interesting circular fuel. On December 8, during the Dragons’ Den of Transition, innovator Metalot is looking for partners. The starter wants to set up various installations in the industry. It is also looking for a good location for a factory that regenerates oxidized iron powder.
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has been working for several years on a technology that extracts energy from the combustion of metals. Burning iron powder releases a lot of heat that can be used for steam production in industry. Moreover, it can serve as an alternative to coal in power plants and as a fuel for trucks and ships.
The combustion product, similar to rust powder, is collected and converted back into metal powder using renewable energy. In this way the metal acts as a circular energy carrier.
Spin-off Metalot has now built the first pilot installation at a Dutch brewery owned by Swinkels (Bavaria) to produce steam for its brewing process. It is still a modest installation of 100 kW, but there are now plans to supply energy to an entire brewery from next year.
Network of plants
Prof. Philip de Goey (TU/e): ‘Our vision is that in ten years’ time there will be a worldwide network that makes sustainable energy available in an inexpensive manner, where and when it is needed.’ He is thinking of regeneration plants in sunny areas, such as Chile, North Africa, around the Red Sea or Australia. These store sustainably generated energy by reprocessing imported oxidized powder into iron powder. ‘This iron powder is then traded by ships around the world to places like North-West Europe where there is then a shortage of renewable energy.’
In the Dragons’ Den of Transition Metalot is looking for partners to build up this ecosystem step by step. Metalot wants to put down a number of burners at different end users and supply heat to their processes. Think of peak & back-up power plants, heat intensive industry and high temperature processes. The starter is also looking for a strategic location in the Netherlands for an initial powder regeneration plant. Later on, this can serve as a model for scaling up in the solar regions.
Dragons’ Den of Transition is the closing event of European Industry and Energy Summit 2021 (EIES2021). More information on the event on 7 and 8 December in Rotterdam Ahoy.