Long-duration energy storage company Malta announced the completion of a facility designed to test its pumped heat storage technology.

The pilot plant, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was assembled and commissioned by Southwest Research Institute.

While the pilot is laboratory-scale, Malta’s full-size pumped heat storage system could store more than 100 MW of power up to eight days or longer, according to the company. The pilot would be tested to demonstrate operation, verify system control strategies, and validate data.

Malta says its pumped heat system uses conventional components that have been present in power plants for hundreds of years. Electricity from the grid is used to heat molten salt and cool a chilled liquid. In these forms, energy can be efficiently stored for long durations.

When the energy is needed, the system operates as a heat engine to discharge the stored energy, using the stored heat and cold together to generate electricity on demand.

Long-duration, large-scale storage can help balance energy volatility and reliability issues caused by high market penetration of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind energy. Malta says its systems could replace decommissioned coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

In August 2021 our partners at Renewable Energy World reported that Malta raised $60 million in its oversubscribed Series B financing round with added support from Chevron Energy Ventures and Piva Capital.

The company already had the backing of Proman, Alfa Laval, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and Dustin Moskovitz.

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