The Anonymous Widower

Gravity, The Ultimate In Energy Storage

This is a must read article on explica.co.

It talks about three methods of storing energy using gravity.

Gravitricity

Gravitricity is under development in Edinburgh

Energy Vault

An image explaining the principle of Energy Vault is also shown.

The Energy Vault web site has some impressive video.

They could be a company to watch. Especially, when they have a battery working, where it can be viewed in action, as it will look like a gigantic many-armed robotic child, playing with thirty-five tonne concrete bricks.

Vázquez Figueroa

This writer from the Canaries has come up with an interesting idea, which combines an energy storage system with water desalination. This is his website. Unfortunately for me, it’s in Spanish only.

This is explica.co’s description of the idea.

Figueroa’s idea is conceptually very simple. Pumping water from the sea to an elevated reservoir, using renewable energy for the process when it is not in demand. Then, in a total win-win, the writer proposes to release that water into a vacuum (as in a traditional hydroelectric power station) which would move a turbine generating electricity. But also, and here’s the genius, that salty water could fall on a semi-permeable membrane, so that it desalinated. Clean electricity and fresh water for the same price. Who gives more?

It certainly sounds feasible.

It sounds to me, though it could be paired with another idea, I read about a couple of years ago.

  • A reservoir would be built on a high place close to the sea.
  • Pumps driven by the waves would pump seawater into the reservoir.
  • When electricity is needed, water is released from the reservoir through turbines.
  • There would be no reason, why the water discharged from the turbines couldn’t be desalinated.

Never underestimate the power of innovation. Especially, when it is fuelled by convivial company and appropriate beers!

May 2, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Companies Have New Take On Old Energy Storage Tech

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hackaday.

This is the introductory paragraph.

According to Spectrum, several companies are poised to make a splash storing energy with gravity. That sounds fancy and high tech at first, but is it, really? Sure, we usually think of energy storage as some sort of battery, but there are many energy storage systems that use water falling, for example, which is almost what this new technology is all about. Almost, since instead of water these new systems move around multi-ton blocks.

The article gives a review of Energy Vault, Gravitricity and another company called Gravity Power.

This is the article’s take on Gravity Power.

The scale of the weights is hard to imagine. Another company, Gravity Power, claims they could deliver 400 megawatts for 16 hours using an 8 million metric ton piston. There’s no word on how long it takes to bring that piston back to the charged position after the 16 hours, though. A Boeing 757-200, for example, weighs about 100 tons when loaded with fuel and passengers. So imagine 80,000 giant airplanes melted down. It makes Energy Vault’s 35-ton weights seem much more reasonable.

Looking at the Gravity Power web site, their technology is described on this page, where this is the first paragraph.

The GPM (Gravity Power Module) uses a very large piston that is suspended in a deep, water-filled shaft, with sliding seals to prevent leakage around the piston and a return pipe connecting to a pump-turbine at ground level. The piston is comprised of reinforced rock and in some cases concrete for low cost. The shaft is filled with water once, at the start of operations, but is then sealed and no additional water is required.

This graphic from the page explains the technology.

My worry would be water leakage past the piston.

This does sound like an idea from William Armstrong, who was responsible for many things including the hydraulic accumulator.

The picture shows the hydraulic accumulator at Limehouse in London.

I visited the Limehouse Accumulator during Open House in 2012 and wrote about it in Open House – The Limehouse Hydraulic Accumulator.

 

 

 

January 9, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | 1 Comment

Prowling for Solutions To Unleash Renewable Energy

The title of this post, is the same as this article on Toolbox.

It is a good summary of the best methods of storing renewable energy without using chemical batteries.

Gravitricity, Energy Vault and Highview Power are all mentioned.

This last paragraph, explains some of the philosophy behind Vermont looking seriously at Highview Power.

Vermont may well be tempted by liquid air energy storage because of its flexibility — simply requiring a two-acre site anywhere. One possible location could be near an abandoned power station. That’s a beautiful solution because the transmission lines that once transported the electricity from the plant are built and ready to use in the renewable era.

Note that a two-acre site is slightly smaller than a football pitch.

It is rather elegant to replace a coal- or gas-fired power-station with an environmentally-friendly energy storage system on the same site, which effectively does the same job of providing energy.

The article doesn’t mention employment, but surely many of the existing workforce can be easily retrained for the new technology.

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , | Leave a comment

Energy Vault Receives $110 Million From SoftBank For Gravity-Assisted Power Storage

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Forbes.

Energy Vault is a company, that is developing gravity-assisted power storage.

You don’t invest £110million in a company, even if you are as rich as Softbank, unless you are certain, that you’ll get a return!

So I suspect Energy Vault may have a working system for storing energy

Read the article and see what your think! It also links to a video.

This is an interesting quote from the company.

We knew we needed to be around three to four cents levelized cost per kWh ($30 – $40 per MWh) to add to PV or wind in order to be competitive below fossil.  This took a lot of innovation.

I shall be following the company.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Energy Storage | , | Leave a comment