It really is that simple.

Rock Marks

Despite major advances in the field of renewable energy generation, we still have yet to find a particularly scalable way to store all that power — especially from solar and wind — which vary greatly depending on the time of day and weather.

Relying on massive battery packs isn't just extremely expensive, it also comes with some inherent safety risks and relies on the mining of non-renewable minerals like lithium, an environmentally damaging process.

But there may be a much simpler alternative that could allow us to store this energy. As CNN reports, a new startup called Antora Energy is investigating ways to store energy inside boxes of extremely hot rocks.

"People sometimes feel like they’re insulting us by saying, 'Hey, that sounds really simple,'" founder Andrew Ponec told CNN. "And we say, ‘No, that’s exactly the point.'"

Easy Bake Oven

By collecting the heating rays of the Sun through photovoltaic solar panels, the startup is heating up rocks to almost 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Antora has chosen big blocks of solid carbon as its storage medium to soak up excess solar energy.

There's also precedent. Hot rocks inside equipment at smelting plants already store roughly ten times as much energy as all of the world's lithium-ion battery storage, according to CNN, which collect otherwise wasted heat from furnaces.

"The key thing that those furnaces didn’t have is a way to get the heat back out," Ponec told CNN. "We’ve added some cavities, some gaps in the carbon that allow light from deep within the system to shine out and some insulated doors that can open and close that allow that light to shine out when you want it."

The idea is to then turn this light into steam and electricity. Some of the energy could also be used to heat other equipment in the production of cement and steel.

Antora is only one of several startups looking to store energy in dense rocks.

In short, it could be s a fascinating simple solution that relies on an abundant raw material. But whether the idea will be able to scale along with our massively growing energy demands to make a difference remains to be seen.

Updated to better describe Antora's energy storage technology.

More on storing energy: MIT Scientists May Have Found a Cheap Way of Storing Huge Amounts of Energy in Cement

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