1) Sustainability problem: Battery storage capacity. Area: Energy
- Existing electrical grids struggle with renewable energy, a vexing problem that’s driving demand for new storage methods.
- Solar panels and wind farms churn out energy around midday and at night when demand lulls.
- This forces utilities to discard it in favor of more predictable oil and coal plants and more controllable natural gas “peaker” plants.
- Alphabet Inc.’s project named Malta, is working on a molten salt storage system. The system consists of two tanks that are filled with salt, and two are filled with antifreeze or a hydrocarbon liquid. 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. By the flip of a switch the process can be reversed and 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 maintains its temperature well, so the system can store energy for many hours, and even days, depending on how insulated the tanks are.
- Governments and electric utilities.
- Renewable energy generators.
- Corporations and other private entities with onsite power generation facilities.
- Achieving proof of concept and demonstrating scalability.
- Securing capital to build out infrastructure.
- Partner with public and private institutions.
UNI – jv2610