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Malta Inc and Vistra team up for energy storage for a natural gas plant

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Malta Inc. and Vistra have teamed up to develop energy storage solutions at Vistra’s natural gas plant in Texas. Developments will be backed by a Department of energy grant, and in collaboration with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

Firstly, the companies will embark on a federally funded project on how Malta’s energy storage system can improve the environmental and economic performance of a natural gas-powered power plant; help to balance the diverse power generation on electric grids, and improve the reliability and resiliency of the electric system; as more intermittent renewables come online.

Secondly, the Malta energy storage system will use electricity generated by the natural gas plant; then, it will convert it and store it as heat; and then it will re convert it into electricity than could be redistributed on the electric grid as demand needs.

Thirdly, the unique design of the Malta storage system will further diversify Vistra’s generation portfolio; it will also create a more stable and resilient grid.

Moreover, the Malta solution is called Pumped Heat Energy System (PHES). It is a long-duration energy storage solution that uses turbomachinery and heat exchangers, well established and proven technologies in power generation, in a novel way to store electricity and dispatch it to the grid on demand.

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Malta’s energy storage to advance energy transition

In fact, according to the company’s statement, it is capable of storing electricity for up to 200 hours, with initial systems focused on current market applications for 10-12 hours of storage.

On the other hand, the PHES can create synergies with fossil fuel-powered plants, as it uses hardware components, technologies, workforce personnel and skillsets very similar to these. This makes co-location of the PHES with fossil-fueled plants plausible.

In addition, Ramya Swaminathan, Malta’s CEO, said. “We are proud to collaborate with Vistra as it works to achieve aggressive net-zero carbon emissions goals; and also to expand our relationship with SwRI, one of the premier research organizations in the country.”

He also remarked. “This collaboration furthers our mission by validating the Malta system’s ability to enable cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable electricity.”

Finally, Molly Sorg, Vistra’s chief purpose and sustainability officer concluded. “Vistra sees immense value in the increased research and development of new, longer-duration energy storage technologies, which will play a crucial role in grid reliability, balancing the intermittency of the power produced by renewable resources. Finally, we’re proud to work with Malta and SwRI to advance innovative solutions for a global energy transition.”

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