Are mine shafts the future of UK energy storage

Could disused mine shafts be next for UK energy storage?

Disused mine shafts in the UK could get a second life as “gravity batteries” — a novel form of energy storage under development by a Scottish engineering company. Like chemical batteries, these could be used to rapidly respond to fluctuating grid demands.

Edinburgh-based startup Gravitricity plans to equip the long-abandoned mine shafts with enormous weights and winches. Surplus power will be drawn from the grid to raise the weights closer to ground level. When the time comes to inject energy back into the grid, the weights can be released for a burst of power generation.

The physics behind the idea is similar to that of pumped hydro — water is driven uphill when energy is cheap and plentiful, then released when demand is high to power generators. Gravitricity highlight a key benefit over pumped hydro, however, an almost instant response to fluctuations as well as a potential degradation-free operational lifespan of 50 years. Innovate UK has awarded the startup a £650,000 grant.

“As we rely more and more on renewable energy, there is an increasing need to find ways to store that energy – so we can produce quick bursts of power exactly when it is needed,” said Gravitricity managing director Charlie Blair.

“So far there is a lot of focus on batteries, but our idea is quite different. Gravitricity uses a heavy weight – up to 2000 tonnes – suspended in a deep shaft by cables attached to winches. When there is excess electricity, for example on a windy day, the weight is winched to the top of the shaft ready to generate power.”

“This weight can then be released when required – in less than a second – and the winches become generators, producing either a large burst of electricity quickly, or releasing it more slowly depending on what is needed.”

Gravitricity has a target date for a part-scale demonstration model later this year, with a full-scale working prototype planned for 2020.

Read the original article

If you want to know more about this and other topics directly from end users of energy storage technologies join us at one of these annual events: The Energy Storage World Forum (Grid Scale Applications), or The Residential Energy Storage Forum, or one of our Training Courses.

LATEST ARTICLES

Future energy predictions: Growth of flexibility and grid forming

It is well known that COVID-19 has caused low energy demand and the growth of renewable energy across Europe. Now, Andrew Tang, Vice President for Energy Storage at Wärtsilä, predicts this will result in swift action to build better grid resiliency. The share of renewable power across Europe has skyrocketed over the last six months…

Read More

Battery Storage for Commercial & Industry

Powerful battery storage offers many advantages in terms of saving electricity costs and a reliable power supply. With this technology, companies retain control of their energy supply and costs. The battery storage system is charged when energy is cheaply available and it supplies the stored electricity when prices are at their highest. With applications such…

Read More

Annual Installed Capacity Significantly Increases

While the global market was under the haze of the epidemic and many countries were still in lockdown, the energy storage market showed extremely strong resilience and began to recover and grow since Q3 and Q4 of 2020. According to the BloombergNEF report, the global energy storage market in 2020 has developed faster than expected,…

Read More

★REVIEWS

“Probably the most interactive and well organized storage event on the calendar.”

★★★★★

Sales Director, S&C

“Well-designed, organized, friendly staff– and various international contacts we hope to do business with soon.”

★★★★★

Marketing Manager, Gildemeister

“High scientific content, well targeted, perfect organization.”

★★★★★

Expert Technical & Governance, Elia

Excellent networking event. The sponsorship was well worth it.”

★★★★★

Manager, ATL

View More

x