Cambridge-Based Alphabet Spin Out Malta Secures $26 Million

By Dan Anderson ● December 24, 2018

Malta (originally known as “Project Malta”), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based grid-scale energy storage startup spin out of Alphabet, has raised $26 million. Specifically, Malta was incubated at X — which is Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory. Malta collects and stores inexpensive and abundant energy from the grid. Then the energy is deployed as electricity on demand.

Malta’s system is able to store electricity for days or weeks until it is needed. The system is able to come from any source such as the wind, sun, or fossil fuels in any location.

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Breakthrough Energy Ventures led this round of funding. Concord New Energy Group and Alfa Laval also participated in this round. As Malta was incubated at X, it underwent a rigorous evaluation and de-risking process.

“Our investors share our vision to create a scalable storage solution that will facilitate further expansion of renewable energy while improving grid stability and resilience across the globe,” said Malta CEO Ramya Swaminathan in a statement. “Beyond capital investment, they are truly partnering with us to build a first-of-a-kind product. We appreciate their confidence in our strategy and in our team’s ability to execute on it.”

Malta’s energy storage system stores energy in the form of a thermal differential between hot and cold storage media. And it is based on established principles in thermodynamics for a system that stores electricity as heat in high-temperature molten salt and cold in a low-temperature antifreeze liquid. And Malta is going to work in collaboration with industry partners to turn the detailed designs developed and refined at X into industrial-grade machinery for its pilot program.

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What makes Malta groundbreaking is that it is able to make existing capital investments in both fossil and renewable generation more productive as it improves power grid stability and resilience.

“A lack of affordable, reliable grid-scale energy storage is currently limiting the shift to renewable energy. Malta’s technology gives us a shot at storing all the renewable energy we create cheaply and reliably,” added Raj B. Apte, PhD, Science Adviser at X, the Moonshot Factory. “With X having done our part to bring Malta’s technology as far as we can take it, we’re excited to hand the baton to the Malta team for the next phase of product development and deployment.”

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Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ Carmichael Roberts explained that solving the intermittency problem of renewable energy is a critical part of delivering inexpensive and reliable clean energy — which is why storage is an important area of investment. Concord New Energy Group chairman Liu Shunxing pointed out that the demand of energy storage has become higher with the rise in electricity being generated from renewable resources and innovation in energy storage technology is going to become critical for using clean energy effectively. And Alfa Laval’s president of the Energy Division Susanne Pahlen Aklundh believes that Malta is a very interesting initiative and is excited to partner with the company.