Google parent Alphabet has a plan for storing renewable energy that would otherwise go to waste — and it involves vats of salt and antifreeze.
The plan, code-named “Malta,” has the potential to last longer than lithium-ion batteries and be as cost efficient as new hydroelectric plants and other existing clean energy storage methods, Bloomberg reported Monday. The market for renewable energy could see about $40 billion in investment by 2024, the news agency reports.
The plan is being developed by Alphabet’s secretive research lab X, which has a history of big “moonshots” focused on solving big problems in the world. The lab’s efforts have included self-driving cars and Project Loon, which uses weather balloons to bring internet connectivity to remote areas.
The system, which can be scaled to energy demands, absorbs energy in the form of electricity and turns it into streams of hot and cold air. The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze. Because salt maintains its temperature well, the system can store energy for hours, or even days, Bloomberg reports.
Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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