In Cambridge, batteries will replace tanks with molten salt

Founded in Cambridge Startup Malta received $ 26 million to create a system for storing excessive renewable energy in separate containers with a molten salt and liquid similar to antifreeze.

The development was supported by the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Foundation, the investors of which are Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg, and the Chairman of Bill Gates. The concept involves the accumulation of energy obtained from solar panels, wind generators or other sources, in the form of heat with the possibility of subsequent conversion to its electricity on demand.

Excessive electricity enters the heat pump heating a mixture of molten salt and liquid similar to antifreeze, which is stored in separate tanks that prevent cooling it. When the need for electricity arises, the system directs the mixture into a thermoelectrogenerator, which converts heat back to electricity entering the network.

Ideas was offered last year, but only now developers managed to attract funding to implement it. According to the researchers, the concept exceeds the technology of the hydroaccumulating storage and an alternative, providing for the heating of the salt using the concentration of sunlight from the mirrors on the central tower.

The advantage of the MALTA system is the cheapness of the materials used, the possibility of accommodating in almost any conditions, as well as simplicity of increasing volume. The estimated service life of components is at least 20 years. Developers say that due to the introduction of new restrictions on the use of fossil fuels and emissions, the need for such a system will only increase. The use of traditional batteries for such purposes is too expensive and will require a significant increase in their production.