In an effort to further its goal of achieving net-zero carbon by 2050, Duke Energy is taking part in a study to convert retiring coal units into long-duration, zero-emissions energy storage systems.

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The North Carolina-based utility is studying the socioeconomic, environmental and operational benefits of integrating Malta Inc.’s 100 MW, 10-hour pumped heat energy storage system into existing infrastructure. Six Duke coal plants in North Carolina are being considered.

The focus is on 10-12 hours of energy storage, but the Malta system could be configured to store up to 200 hours.

“For years, Duke Energy has actively evaluated emerging technologies, and the Malta study marks the first time we will evaluate long-duration thermal energy storage,” said Duke’s Regis Repko,...