Titan measures cement kiln potential in heat battery technology investment

Titan Cement Group, Athens, has joined a venture capital funding round for Oakland, Calif.-based Rondo Energy Inc., whose heat battery technology holds prospects for decarbonizing cement production and power generation. The modular Rondo Heat Battery uses established methods to transform renewable electricity into heat at 98 percent efficiency, and has potential for high scalability at costs competitive with current energy storage technology. In addition to delivering heat up to 1,500°C levels—cement kilns’ typical threshold—the modular apparatus can store renewable energy generated during off-peak hours, ensure grid load flexibility, and achieve additional greenhouse gas emissions savings.

The parent company of Virginia’s Titan America will team with Rondo Energy to develop new concepts for decarbonizing industrial production. The heat battery concept could prove of particular importance to Titan and global or North American peer operators abiding carbon neutrality roadmaps. As energy transfer can take place using cement kiln flue gases, the carbon-neutral, heat battery-generated high temperatures can be used to produce clinker, as well as for the thermal activation of minerals and by-products. Both functions stand to alleviate a significant percentage of fossil fuel combustion emissions at the front end of cement production.

The Rondo Heat Battery’s column-like brick assemblies charge from wind, solar or grid power, and generate cement kiln-level temperatures on demand.

Titan Group joined Energy Impact Partners and Breakthrough Energy Ventures in the $20 million-plus Rondo Energy Series A financing. Backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Breakthrough Energy recently participated in a similar investment round for Terra CO2 Technology, Colorado-based developer of supplementary and primary cementitious materials. Along with Titan Group work, Rondo will use the new capital infusion to establish it first manufacturing lines, continue industrial demonstrations, and develop services for both heavy industry and energy producers. Company engineers likewise see the heat battery potentially becoming a critical component of novel energy-intensive processes for decarbonization, such as carbon capture, green hydrogen generation and conversion of captured CO2.

“With vital support from Titan and our partners, we will unlock the availability of low-cost, zero-carbon, high-temperature heat, together setting a new standard for industrial decarbonization in energy-intensive industries,” says Rondo Energy CEO John O’Donnell.

“Combining our expertise in sustainable and digitized manufacturing and entrepreneurial approach to innovation, with Rondo’s breakthrough technology and globally unique partner ecosystem, we are confident that we can play a leading role in building the infrastructure of the future and accelerating the roadmap towards carbon neutrality of the construction value chain,” adds Titan Group Innovation & Technology Director Fokion Tasoulas. “We look forward to working with Rondo to bring our vision to reality.”