Norwegian energy storage start-up EnergyNext has inked a contract with Italian oil & gas major Eni to develop a first industrial-scale version of its thermal battery technology at a refinery on the southern coast of Sicily.

The so-called Gela project will be built around a steel-and-concrete-based ‘Heatcrete’ battery connecting an existing concentrate solar power installation and a steam turbine used for electricity generation.

The proto-battery, the size of which was not disclosed, will release solar energy stored during the day during the night to supply the refinery, which until now was fossil fuel-powered.