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  • Monday, January 7, 2019

    The New Energy Refrigerator

    Bill Gates-led fund is investing in a startup to build a cheap battery using a “refrigerator on steroids”

    Akshat Rathi, December 21, 2019 (Quartz)

    “…[To fully replace carbon-based fuels with already cost-competitive New Energy, large amounts of cost-effective energy storage is needed] for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow…[Google-founded startup Malta’s answer is] heat pumps, chilled chambers, and molten salt…[It has] raised $26 million toward building its first full-scale pilot plant. The funding round was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which was set up by Bill Gates with support from the likes of Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Jack Ma, and Mukesh Ambani…[The Malta technology uses] excess electricity from solar panels and wind turbines to run a large heat pump…[which is] essentially a refrigerator on steroids…

    …[Malta] extracts heat from a chamber full of antifreeze-like chemicals, lowering the temperature to –70°C (–94 °F). That heat is dumped in another chamber where salt—not exactly table salt, but similar—is heated to as high as 565°C (1,050°F). These insulated chambers hold the energy until…a heat engine—essentially like a steam turbine inside a power plant—is used to convert the heat and the cold back to usable electricity…[Only about half the energy is recovered, but] the overall cost of the system could be potentially lower than one using lithium-ion battery packs…[Malta] already has interest from data centers, large industries, and the defense sector…” click here for more


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