Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: AFP/Getty Images

Alphabet is using salt and antifreeze to store power from wind farms

It'll help prevent wasted renewable energy.
478 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

AFP/Getty Images

The latest from Alphabet's experimental X division? A storage solution for renewable energy. Code named "Malta," the system uses tanks of salt and antifreeze (or another hydrocarbon liquid) to create and store energy.

Per Bloomberg:

"The system takes in energy in the form of electricity and turns it into separate streams of hot and cold air. The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze, a bit like a refrigerator. The jet engine part: Flip a switch and the process reverses. Hot and cold air rush toward each other, creating powerful gusts that spin a turbine and spit out electricity when the grid needs it."

Salt can apparently store energy for days, so this would give energy companies that are dumping off electricity generated from wind farms and solar panels a place to hold it. According to Bloomberg's sources, California had to dump off over 300,000 megawatts of electricity (which could've powered "tens of thousands" of homes) already this year. That's a lot of wasted juice.

This isn't a full-on X experiment like Project Loon, however. It isn't fully funded yet, but Alphabet has built a proof of concept in a Silicon Valley warehouse and is working to find business partners for a commercial prototype that can connect to the electrical grid.

From here it's a lot of testing build materials that can be sourced cheaply, and making sure the thermodynamics are good to go.

Salt-based storage could be cheaper than things like lithium-ion batteries by quite a bit, but from the sounds of it, this is still a ways off from being ready for market. Largely because current gas and oil prices are low and investors don't see short-term pay-offs with alternative fuels. Good thing Alphabet isn't exactly hurting for money, then.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
478 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The best consoles, games and accessories for students

The best consoles, games and accessories for students

View
A first look at Disney+

A first look at Disney+

View
Disney+ confirms 'Ms. Marvel,' 'She-Hulk' TV shows in the works

Disney+ confirms 'Ms. Marvel,' 'She-Hulk' TV shows in the works

View
US book publishers sue Audible over AI-powered transcription

US book publishers sue Audible over AI-powered transcription

View
Netflix test brings human-curated 'Collections' to streaming

Netflix test brings human-curated 'Collections' to streaming

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr