Gravitational energy storage innovations

Nov 20, 2019 04:23 PM ET
  • The research team from Austria has developed an innovative gravity-based energy storage plant suitable for low energy demand locations. The solution is compatible with different storage systems including renewables.
Gravitational energy storage innovations
Image: daveynin/Flickr

Gravitational storage systems utilize energy for raising solid particles when charging and then release the substance to drive a generator. 

The volume of energy released depends on the height the solid mass is raised to. Based on this correlation, the scientists invented ‘mountain gravity energy storage’ solution. If combined with hydropower, a gravitational battery of the kind would be perfect for low-demand locations (up to 20 megawatts of storage capacity).

Long-lasting cycles 

The solution is comprised of a pair of cranes and an electric engine for raising gravel or sand used as a solid substance. The crane’s horizontal bar lifts and lowers to adjust to the storage site heights. This optimizes the facility’s efficiency and keeps the cables stretched, which allows uninterrupted operation with no need for cable length adjustment. 

Such mountain-based storage facilities allow months-long energy storage and constant energy generation. 

The solution is also predicted to minimize both visual and environmental negative effects because the facility doesn’t need much space to occupy.

American company Energy Vault has announced a gravitational energy storage system with a crane lifting 35t-weighted concrete bricks. The crane operates the storage tower and electricity charging/discharging. The system is adjustable to such external conditions as weather, inertia as well as energy supply and demand variance.

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