Researchers at Alphabet’s secretive lab X are working on a project for storing clean energy that uses salt and antifreeze. The project called Malta is still not an official X project; however, currently a team of researchers are testing an early prototype and experimenting in a science lab. If successful, the system could rival the cost of new hydroelectric plants and other energy storage methods and maybe even last longer than lithium-ion batteries. Tesla and other market players in the renewable energy storage could have a key competitor.
“X is stepping into a market that could see about $40 billion in investment by 2024“, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The way the lab is presented by the BNEFis – “…it features two cylindrical tanks filled with salt and another two filled with antifreeze or hydrocarbon liquid. They are connected to a heat pump by pipes. Using hot and cold air, the system can produce energy that can be stored for many hours or days”.
In order to turn the idea into a real deal and take advantage of the current demand and market opportunity, especially when it comes to storing the extra produced megawatts in a smart way, the team is looking for partners to build, operate and connect a commercial-sized prototype to the grid. Alphabet has the balance sheet to inspire confidence, with $95 billion in cash and equivalents. And when it comes to the future Obi Felten, Director at X is looking forward to work with companies in China.
Image credit: BloombergTechnology