Malta, developer of electro-thermal energy storage systems, announced its partnership with Bechtel, an engineering, construction and project management firm.
Malta’s system, developed in partnership with Siemens Energy, is energy-source agnostic, able to collect and store energy from solar, wind, or fossil fuels. Its long-duration capability of 10-150+ hours is particularly well-suited to support renewable energy, storing and dispatching power during the intermittent cycles of generation (day to night), and can perform other grid services.
First, energy is gathered, and then moved through a heat pump, converting electrical energy into thermal energy by creating a temperature difference. The heat is stored in molten salt, and the cold is stored in a chilled liquid. When it is time to dispatch the power, the temperature difference is converted back to electrical energy with a heat engine. Finally, it is distributed back to the grid as needed.
“The lack of long-duration energy storage solutions remains a key challenge for the renewable energy industry,” said Bechtel renewables sector lead Scott Austin. “There is no silver bullet for decarbonization.” A similar sentiment was shared in the pv magazine Roundtables USA 2021 session, where it was discussed that a mix of distributed generation and shorter duration storage with large-scale renewable deployment and long-duration storage would offer the fastest path to decarbonization.
Malta said its solution has applications in replacing retired fossil-fuel assets like coal-fired power plants, with the ability to reuse existing infrastructure. Additionally, it can be used as an alternative to transmission system updates, also using existing infrastructure, said the company.
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While this can work from thermal sources like CSP, RE fuels as just heat to power is normal, the losses from electric to heat back to electric is just too large.
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