Renewable energy has always had a storage problem. But Google parent Alphabet has a new plan to create and store energy - and it involves salt and antifreeze. "Malta," the code-name for the plan, would last longer than lithium-ion batteries, which have been hailed previously as the answer to renewable energy’s inconsistency problem. It would also be just as cost-effective as other existing methods to store clean energy.
As reported by Bloomberg earlier this week, the plan is being developed by Alphabet's experimental research lab X, that focuses on solving big problems around the world. Known as "moonshots," their projects always consider the following three subjects: find a big problem, look at a radical solution, and discover a breakthrough technology. In this scenario, the problem is renewable energy’s availability. Since wind and solar generation isn’t consistent, there are times where electric grids are underutilized or overpowered.
In order to solve this problem, a group of researchers have been looking for a way to store this excess energy. Unlike some current solutions, they wanted it to be cheap and always available. This meant that the product could be built anywhere and it was able to store electricity for short and long periods. It also had to be reusable, something that does eat away at lithium-ion batteries over time.