A company using gravity to create a ‘giant battery’ has just successfully completed a trial in Scotland, paving the way for its commercial scale deployment.
The company is called Gravitricity, and its device, which has a 25-year lifespan, could help prevent the extraction of rare earth minerals in the creation of lithium-ion batteries, while providing a cost-effective alternative for storage. renewable.
At a cost of £ 1 million ($ 1.385 million) to build a 15-meter (49-foot) tower weighing 25 tonnes, Gravitricity says the prototype can generate 250 kilowatt hours and deliver electricity in less than a second when it occurs. the demand.
The device has been designed to be placed in old mine shafts rather than in the air, and “these tests confirm our model and show that gravity energy storage is a serious competitor in the global energy storage market.” saying managing director of the company, Charlie Blair.
The technology is based on sending excess energy from renewables, such as wind power, to cable pulleys that slowly lift a large weight up the tower, storing potential gravitational energy that is released back into the system as electricity when lowered. the pesos.
The company is already in “advanced discussions” with mine owners in Britain, Scandinavia, Poland and the Czech Republic about possible locations for initial European projects.
“If this technology is one that really makes a difference, it will make it global,” said Blair. BBC Scotland. “It’s going to keep the lights on in Africa, while they build the network, just as much as it will in Europe.”
The global renewable storage markets are huge, valued at more than $ 600 billion by Bloomberg. While they do not release emissions, renewables cannot store the electricity they have generated, and ingenious methods to tackle this problem use all kinds of materials and strategies.
GNN reported last year on a couple of startups from Britain and Sweden that use the phase change of matter, that is, going from a solid to a liquid to a gas, to store and then again to release energy. one that stores air in liquid form before converting it back to gas, the other using Cast aluminum.
Other innovators are recycle electric vehicle batteries, And now gravity uses potential gravitational energy.
While all of these methods seem eclectic and disjointed, they are exactly the kinds of things that a dynamic and important market like renewable energy storage should be seeing.
With every company that succeeds and every company that fails, the industry learns valuable lessons, accelerating the process toward developing a Model-T-like breakthrough.
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