The Anonymous Widower

Gravitricity Battery Generates First Power At Edinburgh Site

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

This is the first paragraph.

A project to create electricity from gravity has generated its first power at a demonstrator site in Edinburgh.

The article gives a good explanation of the uses of the Gravitricity system and shows a video.

I suppose, I should declare an interest, in that I have invested money in Gravitricity through crowdfunding.

But then I like the concept and they are also using some of the best winch technology in the world from specialist company: Huisman.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | | Leave a comment

Gravitricity Adds Hydrogen To Energy Storage Mix

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on the Gravitricity web site.

These are the first two paragraphs of the press release.

Energy storage specialists Gravitricity have revealed plans to add hydrogen and heat storage to their underground gravity energy system.

The Edinburgh innovators have submitted a global patent to turn purpose-built shafts into pressurised energy stores, capable of safely accumulating significant quantities of the gas.

These are my observations.

  • I believe the original concept of storing energy will work, which is why I have invested.
  • Other companies are proposing to store hydrogen under pressure below ground.
  • Heat is being extracted from the London Underground and used for heating buildings.
  • Using one hole for three purposes must be more cost-efficient.

These processes might be easier with a regular clean purpose-built shaft!

May 20, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage, Hydrogen | | Leave a comment

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

Alternative Energy Storage Technologies To Challenge Electrochemistry

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Battery and Energy Storage Magazine.

It gives a good summary of two energy storage system; Highview Power and Gravitricity, that I rate highly promising.

It also gives details of a Danish system called Stiesdal Storage Technologies, which is developing a hot rocks energy storage system.

The article says this about the system.

The pumped-heat ESS uses pea-sized crushed basalt, rock in insulated steel tanks with the stored energy released by turbine.

SST CEO Peder Riis Nickelsen said: “The cost of crushed stone is at a totally different level per unit of energy than practically any other material for energy storage. Our charging and discharging system can utilise well-known technologies that have been applied for a century within other industries and are well-suited for mass production.”

The cost of materials is estimated to be €10 ($12) per kWh.

The first demonstration project, a 1-2MW, 24h capacity unit, will be installed at a power plant in Denmark next year, and will operate commercially.

This page on the Striesdal web site, explains the technology.

It sounds like the system uses very similar principles to Siemens Gamesa ETES, with a different heat storage medium.

Conclusion

At my last count, there now appears to be upwards of half-a-dozen viable alternatives to chemical batteries and traditional pumped storage. Some of the technologies are also backed, by large companies, organisations and countries, who can afford to take a long-term view.

I hope those, who claim that renewables will never power the world, have at least got the recipe for the cooking of humble pie ready.

April 30, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | Leave a comment

Gravitricity Celebrates Success Of 250kW Energy Storage Demonstrator

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Solar Power Portal.

I have already posted about this success in Gravitricity Battery Generates First Power At Edinburgh Site.

But the news story has now been mentioned in several respected publications and web sites.

So this idea, based on traditional Scottish products of heavy weights and girders seems to be getting valuable publicity.

The demonstrator is only small and uses two 25 tonne weights and a fifteen metre tower.

This is only a storage capacity of only 2.04 kWh, but the company is talking of weights totalling up to a massive 12,000 tonnes.

With a fifteen metre tower, that would be 490 kWh.

Note.

  1. The shafts at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire are 800 metres deep.
  2. The TauTona mine in South Africa is 3.9 kilometres deep
  3. In this article in The Engineer, Gravitricity talk about weights of up to 12,000 tonnes.

These are typical storage capacities.

  • Kellingley – 50 tonnes – 109 kWh
  • Kellingley – 12,000 tonnes – 26.15 MWh
  • TauTona – 50 tonnes – 531 kWh
  • TuaqTona = 12,000 – 127.5 MWh

Accountants before they invest in a company look at the financial figures. As an engineer, I look at the numbers in the science behind their claims.

If the engineering can be made to work, these figures are to say the least; very promising.

They are also beautifully scalable.

If say your application needed a 2 MWh battery and you had a 400 metre shaft available, you can calculate the weight needed. It’s around 1836 tonnes.

The Solar Power Portal article finishes with these two paragraphs.

The company will now look to rollout the technology in a series of full-scale 4-8MW projects, with conversations already underway with mine owners in the UK, Scandinavia, Poland and the Czech Republic, it said. Additionally, in South Africa Gravitricity is working closely with mine operator United Mining Services as part of a programme funded by an Innovate UK Energy Catalyst programme to identify potential schemes.

“A key feature of our full-scale projects will be their long life” added Blair. “Once built, our system can last for over 25 years, with no loss in output or degradation over time. This makes gravity storage cost-effective. And unlike batteries, we have no reliance on rare metals such as cobalt and nickel which are becoming increasingly scarce in the global drive to electrification.”

Note.

  1. I assume that they are 4-8 MWh projects.
  2. Charlie Blair is the Managing Director of Gravitricity.
  3. A weight of 1836 tonnes would give 4 MWh in the 800 metre shaft at Kellingley.

I wouldn’t be surprised that those owning a deep empty hole in the ground will be starting conversations with Gravitricity!

Conclusion

I am not worried, that I bought a few shares in Gravitricity in the crowd-funding last year!

All this good publicity from the BBC, Good News Network, Science, The Engineer, The Times and other media sites won’t harm my investment.

 

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gravitricity Battery Generates First Power At Edinburgh Site

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

This is the first paragraph.

A project to create electricity from gravity has generated its first power at a demonstrator site in Edinburgh.

This is only a demo to prove the technology, but all great oaks start as acorns.

I have great hopes for Gravitricity and I should declare an interest, as I bought a few shares in a crowdfunding.

April 21, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , | 1 Comment

SSE Goes Global To Reap The Wind

The title of this article on This Is Money is Renewable Energy Giant SSE Launches Plan To Become Britain’s First Global Windfarm Business As it Invests Up To £15bn Over Next Decade.

The title is a good summary of their plans to build wind farms in Continental Europe, Denmark, Japan and the US, in addition to the UK and Ireland.

I can also see the company developing more integrated energy clusters using the following technologies.

  • Wind farms that generate hydrogen rather than electricity using integrated electrolysers and wind turbines, developed by companies like ITM Power and Ørsted.
  • Reusing of worked out gasfields and redundant gas pipelines.
  • Zero-carbon CCGT power stations running on Hydrogen.
  • Lots of Energy storage.

I talked about this type of integration in Batteries Could Save £195m Annually By Providing Reserve Finds National Grid ESO Trial.

In the related post, I talked about the Keadby cluster of gas-fired power stations, which are in large part owned by SSE.

Conclusion

I think that SSE could be going the way of Equinor and Ørsted and becoming a global energy company.

It is also interesting the BP and Shell are investing in renewable energy to match the two Scandinavian companies.

Big Oil seems to be transforming itself into Big Wind.

All these companies seem to lack grid-scale energy storage, although hydrogen can be generated and stored in worked-out gas fields.

So I would expect that some of the up-and-coming energy storage companies like Gravitricity, Highview Power and RheEnergise could soon have connections with some of these Big Wind companies.

 

 

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crown Estate’s Auction Of Seabed For Wind Farms Attracts Sky-High Bids

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

This is the opening paragraph.

An auction of seabed rights to build offshore wind farms around England and Wales has attracted frenzied bidding that could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds a year to the Treasury and the Queen.

I don’t find this surprising.

Bigger Seems Better Offshore

Wind turbine technology is getting better and much larger. It also seems that the new larger floating turbines are much more efficient and generate power for a greater proportion of the day.

My project management software helped to harvest North Sea Oil and I have been told by many in the industry, that North Sea Oil really took off when platforms and the equipment like cranes used to build them got truly enormous.

I feel, we could be seeing the same size effect happening as we harvest the wind!

Hydrogen And Wind Power

The latest development is not to generate electricity, but to use it in the turbine to generate hydrogen, which is then piped to the shore.

  • The UK Government is funding this technology in part with a grant to ITM Power.
  • I wrote about the technology in ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration.
  • Existing gas networks can be reconfigured to bring the hydrogen to the shore.
  • Piping hydrogen costs less than cabling electricity.
  • Hydrogen networks are being built at several places in the UK, to fuel homes, power stations and industry like steel-making and petrochemicals.

Could all this explain Big Oil’s involvement?

Do they want to exchange fossil fuels for green hydrogen?

They certainly know how to distribute it.

Energy Storage

For my own investments, I’m looking at energy storage, where the UK has at least three promising new ideas, all of whom have had Government grants.

  • Gravitricity
  • Highview Power
  • ReEnergise

The Government has also indirectly-backed Cornish Lithium

 

February 6, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , | 5 Comments

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

Could A Gravitricity Energy Storage System Be Built Into A Wind Turbine?

On Thursday, I watched the first programme in a BBC series called Powering Britain. This programme was about wind power.

The program had close-up views of the inside of a turbine tower in the Hornsea Wind Farm in the North Sea. The spacious tower enclosed a lift for engineers to access the gubbins on the top.

In the Wikipedia entry for wind turbine, there is a section, with is entitled Most Powerful, Tallest, Largest And With Highest 24-Hour Production, where this is said.

GE Wind Energy’s Haliade-X is the most powerful wind turbine in the world, at 12MW. It also is the tallest, with a hub height of 150 m and a tip height of 260m. It also has the largest rotor of 220 m and largest swept area at 38000 m2. It also holds the record for the highest production in 24 hours.

Two certainties about wind turbines are that they will get larger and more powerful, if the progress over the last few years is continued.

So could a Gravitricity energy storage system be built into the tower of the turbine?

A lot would depend on the structural engineering of the combination and the strength of the tower to support a heavy weight suspended from the top, either inside or even outside like a collar.

To obtain a MWh of storage, with a height of 150 metres, would need a weight of 2,500 tonnes, which would be over three hundred cubic metres of wrought iron.

Gravitricity are talking of 2,500 tonnes in their systems, but I suspect the idea of a wind turbine, with a practical level of storage inside the tower, is not yet an engineering possibility.

 

October 31, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , | 3 Comments