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Alphabet spinning off Project Malta (grid scale Molten salt storage)

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by RubberToe, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. RubberToe

    RubberToe Supporting the greater good

    Jun 28, 2012
    El Lay
    I came across the following in an e-mail from Technology Review magazine:

    Alphabet is in talks to spin out its molten-salt storage play

    I checked out the Acrobat publication describing the system. It looks like they are claiming that this will be cheaper than pumped hydro for long term energy storage. No technology breakthroughs required. They will need a huge amount of heat exchanger pipes that seem to be the biggest hurdle to getting the plant cost down. An automated fabrication facility would be required.

    "A facility the size of Fig. 12 would require about 3.0 × 107 tubes of length 20 m, or a total length of 6.0 × 108 m, enough to circle the earth 15 times. The cost of building it would be prohibitive if humans were doing the work, but robots would be doing it."

    It looks like Bill Gates Breakthrough Energy Ventures will be taking the lead in getting this developed and deployed.

    Anyone more versed in the calculations and technology care to comment on the viability of the proposed system? I couldn't get a grasp of exactly how much energy the plant described in Figure 1 could store.

    Here is the scientific article:


  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    Don't understand all the underlying science, but there's too much emotion and minimizing in the writing for me to trust it.

    To paraphrase xkcd Research Translation xkcd: Researcher Translation it's saying
    "I've done the interesting scientific thinking. The rest is just engineering and business, which is easy, right?"

    "It'll be robots doing it." Hmm, where have I heard that before?
    • Like x 1

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