Google plans to use molten salt and cold liquid to solve energy storage problems

Google plans to use molten salt and cold liquid to solve energy storage problems

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According to a report in the Wall Street Journal on the 1st, Google’s parent company Alphabet proposed a project for Malta that intends to store electricity generated from renewable energy in molten salt and cold liquid tanks.

Alphabet's research lab “X” said on Monday that the company has developed a plan to store solar panels or wind turbine generators as heat energy in molten salt and cold liquids (such as antifreeze).

The lab is seeking partners in the energy industry, including power plant developers and utility companies, to establish prototypes for access to the power grid.

According to Bloomberg, Malta looks like a small power plant with four cylindrical tanks connected by pipes to a heat pump. According to X Lab, Malta can be of different sizes: from a small garage to a complete power plant that can provide power to large industrial facilities, data centers, etc. as needed.

Julian Green, product manager of Malta, stated that Malta combines proven technology with new components. Two tanks are salt, and the other two tanks are antifreeze or hydrocarbon liquids. The system absorbs energy in a current mode and then converts it into isolated hot and cold air streams. The hot air heats the salt and the cold air cools the antifreeze. When the power grid needs electricity, a switch is toggled to start the reverse process. The cold and hot air collide with each other to generate a powerful airflow that drives the turbine to rotate and generate electricity. The salt insulation effect is quite good, and the system energy storage time can be up to several hours or even several days.

Scientists have shown that this is a viable energy storage technology. Malta's contribution is to design a system that operates at low temperatures without requiring expensive specialized materials.

According to the Wall Street Journal, as to whether Malta can be commercialized, it mainly depends on whether there is a rigorous model in science and there is a reliable business model. Scholars have said that once they are successful, it will be several years before they are put on the market. A spokesman for X Labs stated that the project may enter the market "for the foreseeable future."

Power storage is an area of ​​great interest in the energy industry. Finding a cost-effective way to store solar energy and wind energy when it is oversupply, and allocate it when needed, is the dream of the electric power industry.

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