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Ultra-Low-Cost Thermal Storage

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Most conventional electricity generating systems in use today are thermally-powered, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, and solar thermal power. Thermal energy storage technologies can allow for more flexibility in the electrical output of these systems—which is especially valuable in grids where growing amounts of intermittent renewable power are increasing the need for and value of power plants that can operate flexibly and deliver more power to the grid when it is most needed. Today’s thermal storage medium of choice is molten salt, but we need to develop transformational new cheaper and more efficient approaches to thermal storage to enable more widespread availability of cost-effective flexibility and rampable power from low-carbon thermally-driven power plants.