In an attempt to store renewable energy, Google's parent company is turning to two rather unexpected resources – salt and antifreeze.
Alphabet, which owns Google, is working on a project under the code name 'Malta' to store renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted.
If successful, the system could be located almost anywhere, saving millions of megawatts of energy that are currently lost worldwide each year.
Scroll down for video
In an attempt to store renewable energy, Google is turning to two rather unexpected resources – salt and antifreeze. The Malta system looks like a small power plant, with four tanks connected to a heat pump
The Malta system looks like a small power plant, with four tanks connected to a heat pump.
X says the system can come in various different sizes, ranging from the same size as a garage, to a full-scale traditional power plant, depending on needs.
Two of the cylindrical tanks are filled with salt, while the second two are filled with antifreeze.
Energy is taken into the system in the form of electricity, which is turned into separate streams of hot and cold air.
The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze.
To re-generate the energy, the process is reversed, so that the hot and cold air rush towards each other.
This creates powerful winds that spin a turbine, producing the energy once again.
The system can store the energy for days, depending on the amount of insulation.
Alphabet's mysterious X division is working on the 'moonshot' project Malta, according to a report in Bloomberg.
According to X executives and researchers, the system has the potential to last longer than lithium-ion batteries, and could compete with other clean energy storage methods.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Obi Felton, director at X, said: 'If the moonshot factory gives up on a big, important problem like climate change, then maybe it will never get solved.
'If we do start solving it, there are trillions and trillions of dollars in market opportunity.'
While Malta is not yet an official X project, the team of 10 researchers is now looking for partners to build and operate a prototype to the grid, according to Ms Felten.
Each year, huge amounts of energy are