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Advanced Batteries & Energy Storage Research
Posted on December 27, 2018 by

Electro-thermal energy storage system raises funds

Malta Inc, a pioneer in electro-thermal energy storage, has raised $26M in a Series A round of funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures with participation from other investors including Concord New Energy Group and Alfa Laval. Malta, which started as "Project Malta" at X, Alphabet's Moonshot Factory, is now an independent company outside of Alphabet called "Malta Inc". Malta is a provider of industrial-grade, grid-scale energy storage solutions. The Malta system collects and stores inexpensive and abundant renewable and fossil energy, and dispatches it as needed to the grid to enable the affordable and reliable delivery of electricity on demand. Incubated at X, the Moonshot Factory (formerly Google (x)), and funded by leading venture capital and commercial power industry companies, Malta is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Our investors share our vision to create a scalable storage solution that will facilitate further expansion of renewable energy while improving grid stability and resilience across the globe. Beyond capital investment, they are truly partnering with us to build a first-of-a-kind product. We appreciate their confidence in our strategy and in our team's ability to execute on it," said Ramya Swaminathan, CEO of Malta Inc.
The Malta energy storage system stores energy in the form of a thermal differential between hot and cold storage media. It is based on well-established principles in thermodynamics for a system that stores electricity as heat in high temperature molten salt and cold in a low temperature antifreeze liquid. While incubated at X, Alphabet's Moonshot Factory, the project underwent a rigorous evaluation and de-risking process.
Malta Inc will work in collaboration with industry partners to turn the detailed designs developed and refined at X into industrial-grade machinery for its first pilot system. Malta's system can store electricity for days or even weeks, until it's needed. The electricity can come from any source (i.e. wind, sun, or fossil fuels) in any location. Malta has the potential to make existing capital investments in both fossil and renewable generation more productive while dramatically improving power grid stability and resilience.
"A lack of affordable, reliable grid-scale energy storage is currently limiting the shift to renewable energy. Malta's technology gives us a shot at storing all the renewable energy we create cheaply and reliably. With X having done our part to bring Malta's technology as far as we can take it, we're excited to hand the baton to the Malta team for the next phase of product development and deployment," said Raj Apte, PhD, Science Adviser at X, the Moonshot Factory.
"Solving the intermittency problem of renewable energy is a critical part of delivering inexpensive and reliable clean energy, which is why storage is an important area of investment for BEV," said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. "Malta's energy storage system is a different and promising approach from conventional batteries, using existing components and inexpensive resources to store energy as heat - and that makes the system cost-effective to scale. We're also excited about this investor syndicate, pooling our unique resources to bring this technology to market."
"With the rise in electricity being generated from renewable resources, the demand for energy storage has become higher, and innovation in energy storage technology will become critical for using clean energy effectively. Malta's energy storage technology can be widely applied to various energy storage markets such as grid peak load shifting, auxiliary services, distributed energy resources, business and industrial parks, and more, with considerable development potential. Our investment in Malta Inc. has strategic significance for the further development of our energy project investment operations and technical services business line and benefits the interests of our company and shareholders as a whole," said Mr. Liu Shunxing, the Chairman of Concord New Energy Group.
"We believe that Malta is a very interesting initiative, with great potential," says Susanne Pahlén Åklundh, President of Alfa Laval's Energy Division. "We will bring our unique expertise within heat transfer technology, including design and production of heat exchangers, to the invaluable knowledge and resources within the group of investors in Malta Inc. We are excited to partner with them to bring this innovative new approach in energy storage to the market."
Source and top image: Malta Inc
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