He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing.
It’s a phrase coined by the famous Muhammad Ali but it’s never been more relevant than in the case of CCT Energy Storage developer Graham Warburton.
Just over seven years ago the former builder was given the opportunity to invest in a technology that, if successful, could change the global energy market for the better.
The challenge was to create the world’s first working thermal battery by finding a phase change technology that could store latent heat as energy – a feat that had never before been achieved.
To be successful the battery also needed to be affordable, versatile and long-lasting.
“It just interested me to find a solution to a problem that faced so many – the problem of energy affordability,” Graham said.
“I saw the greatest need for this after touring through Aboriginal missions in Alice Springs, I saw how they lived and thought how fantastic it would be to be able to store energy and provide it to the communities that need it most.
“Once I had the concept in my head of what could be achieved, the challenge was irresistible.”
Graham and his mates gave themselves a year to produce a working prototype that would achieve the elusive phase change stage – the important point at which a solid becomes a liquid to be stored as latent heat. They would then work to find a way to extract the heat efficiently and effectively.
“I hoped it would be achieved in a year, but we were not only developing the cell but the things around it – the engines, the generators, the elements,” Graham said.
“We made the very first prototype 2012 after many months of working with dangerously hot materials and watching and waiting, as what we were doing had never been done before.”
Since that time that battery, now known as TED (Thermal Energy Device), has undergone numerous iterations and is now ready to enter the Australian market.
TED will become the most affordable and environmentally friendly alternative power source – with the ability to power remote communities, commercial businesses, telecommunications networks and transport systems.
For Graham, it’s the final stage of a dream – and long-running obsession – to find an affordable energy solution that could impact on so many.
“You have to have a will to start with, but then it becomes a burning obsession to see it through,” Graham said.
“I don’t know where TED will be by Christmas, but I see numerous commercial opportunities as well as opportunities to help those who need it most, enormously.”