Malta Inc., Alfa Laval, Siemens Energy, and DLR secure extensive grant to drive Germany’s clean energy transition

Storing intermittent renewable energy for later use will be crucial to unlock the energy transition.

Malta Inc., a world leader in long duration energy storage (LDES), announced that its German subsidiary was awarded a grant to support a €9-million effort to accelerate the German energy transition.

By Alfa Laval

Malta Hochtemperatur Wärmepumpen Stromspeicher GmbH, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Alfa Laval, and Siemens Energy were awarded funding by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) to support Germany’s efforts to achieve Paris Agreement climate targets and to be climate-neutral by 2045.

Germany needs to electrify its heating sector and to ensure that expanded renewable power generation is available on-demand and around-the-clock. The grant will fund a technoeconomic analysis of the potential for Malta’s LDES technology to help decarbonize both electricity and heat generation in Germany. It will also support the expansion of DLR’s world-leading test facility for thermal energy storage in molten salts (TESIS) to validate an innovative, Alfa Laval-built heat exchanger.

On course for decarbonization

“We are honored to partner with the German government and its leading national laboratory, the DLR, to explore how Malta’s technology can accelerate the transition off natural gas,” said Ramya Swaminathan, CEO of Malta.

“This important work will identify how best to meet Germany’s decarbonization goals, create jobs in German turbomachinery manufacturing, and deliver a just transition by creating clean energy construction and operations jobs for the nation’s current energy workforce.”

Sigmund Brielmaier, Head of LDES at Siemens Energy, states: “Besides being the turbomachinery supplier for Malta’s technology, we are keen to contribute with our expertise to this project that enables the energy transition. LDES is a key to decarbonize the energy system and this project offers a great opportunity to explore new ways of decarbonized combined heat and power applications.” Alasdair Maciver, Head of Energy Storage Solutions at Alfa Laval comments: “Energy storage is pivotal when driving the shift towards renewable energy sources. We are very pleased that our pioneering and highly efficient heat exchanger technology, tailored for Malta’s energy storage process, will be running in actual operational settings. It is a milestone in the pathway towards competitive, long-term energy storage and the transformation of the European energy market into a more sustainable future.”

Clean power plant

Malta’s innovative pumped-thermal energy storage (PTES) plant is a like-for-like replacement for fossil-fueled power plants. It generates 100-MW of clean power and 70-MW of clean heat, but it uses an industrial grade heat pump to replace the carbon emissions and volatile price of fossil fuels with zero-emissions, lowest-cost-available renewable energy. The heat pump converts the electricity to thermal energy, which can be stored for hours to days.

When needed, a heat engine reconverts the thermal energy into clean power and heat, returning more than 90% of the original energy to the grid with little-to-no degradation over its 30+ year lifespan. As an LDES asset, Malta’s technology allows utilities to reliably deploy vastly more wind and solar power without the risks of unavailability or wasting surplus generation. As a clean power plant, it delivers the same grid resilience and reliability services that fossil-fueled plants do but wind and solar do not. With among the best-available round-trip efficiencies, lowest system degradation, and longest plant life, Malta’s clean power and heat plant allows customers to make up lost ground on decarbonization goals.

In close collaboration with DLR’s Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, led by Prof. Dr. André Thess, the partners will collaborate on analyses of:

  • Use cases for long-duration energy storage in the electricity grid, including grid services, and heat grids;
  • Suitable market mechanisms for long duration storage systems;
  • Identification of sites for potential deployment; and
  • Validation of an innovative Alfa Laval heat exchanger at DLR’s TESIS, the world-leading facility for high-temperature, molten-salt, thermal storage technology.

About this Featured Story

This Featured Story was first published in Heat Exchanger World Magazine in February 2024. To read more Featured Stories and many other articles, subscribe to our print magazine.

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