Image credit: Malta
Long-duration energy storage company Malta Inc. has closed a financing round led by Siemens Energy Ventures and Alfa Laval. They join existing shareholders including Chevron and Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
The undisclosed round will help Malta deploy its electro-thermal energy storage system. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company said its system, which has yet to be commercialized, can provide up to eight days of storage for more than 100 megawatts of power, and can act as a direct replacement for fossil-fueled power plants. It uses a heat pump to convert electrical energy to thermal energy, then uses both molten salt and an antifreeze coolant to store said energy, which is then converted back into electricity via a heat engine.
Malta, which grew out of the Google-founded “moonshot factory” known as X, relies on heat pump and heat engine components developed through its partnership with Siemens.
The Long Duration Energy Storage Council estimates that when paired with renewables, long-duration energy storage solutions like the one offered by Malta could lead to emissions reductions of up to 65%. But despite widespread agreement that LDES technologies are critical to the energy transition, the market for such solutions has yet to reach commercial scale. And electricity markets remain ill-prepared to take advantage of the technology.
Pumped heat energy storage systems — which are often combined with concentrated solar power systems — can store electricity either directly from the source or from the grid itself, and can dispatch both heat and electricity.
The recent funding round comes amid a whirl of activity for Malta. Earlier this month, the company’s German subsidiary received a $9.6 million grant from the German government to expand an LDES test facility at the German Aerospace Center and to conduct an analysis of whether Malta’s tech can help decarbonize the country’s electricity and heat generation systems. And back in January, Malta agreed to explore deployment of its system with the Orlando Utilities Commission, in a partnership that plans to build a Malta plant on Florida’s East Coast.