The Anonymous Widower

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.


  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.”


  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!


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

Warszawa – Vilnius Passenger Service To Launch Next Year

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

This paragraph describes the proposed service.

The service is expected to start in late 2021, offering a journey time between the two capitals of 8 h including a change of trains at the break-of-gauge in Kaunas. Initial ridership is estimated at 35 000 passengers/year. The need to change trains would be removed once the 1 435 mm gauge tracks are extended to Vilnius as part of the Rail Baltica project.

I intend to ride this train, as soon as it starts.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Pesa And PKN Orlen To Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trains

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rolling stock manufacturer Pesa and energy company PKN Orlen signed a letter of intent to develop hydrogen fuel cell trains on December 12.

I am pleased that Poland appears to be turning to trains that emit less carbon, but I do worry about how the hydrogen is produced.

It appears the Dutch are moving towards green hydrogen, which is produced by the electrolysis of water using electricity produced by offshore wind farms.

But how are the Poles producing their hydrogen?

I did find this article on, which is entitled Poland Wants To Be A Hydrogen Kuwait. P2G Can Help.

This is the introductory sentence.

Hydrogen could drive low-carbon transport and also help reduce CO2 emissions. Although it is a distant perspective for now, the production of the element could support onshore wind farms.

It does appear that the Poles are thinking along lines, that will reduce carbon emissions.

What is P2G?

P2G or Power-to-Gas has an informative Wikipedia entry.

This is the first paragraph, which outlines the process.

Power-to-gas (often abbreviated P2G) is a technology that converts electrical power to a gas fuel. When using surplus power from wind generation, the concept is sometimes called windgas. There are currently three methods in use; all use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by means of electrolysis.

There certainly a lot of activity in the sector.

My Experience Of Polish Transport

Poland is a large country with an extensive rail system. I have travelled long distances across the country and many of the passenger trains are electric.

I can’t remember seeing a freight train, but I do remember large numbers of diesel trucks moving freight across the country.


Hydrogen could be a very important fuel for transport in Poland.

December 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Poland Investigates Use Of Hydrogen Fuel For Rail Freight

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the International Railway Journal.

This first paragraph, outlines the project.

Polish coal mining company JSW and national rail freight operator PKP Cargo have agreed to cooperate to research, analyse and possibly produce new types of hydrogen-powered freight wagons and shunting locomotives.

Note that one of the collaborating companies is a coal company.

Statements later in the article indicate that JSW can create commercial quantities of hydrogen, as a by-product of making coke.

Some of us of a certain age, still remember coal gas, which was replaced by natural gas from the North Sea in the 1970s.

It looks like Poland are still using the same process to obtain coke and probably other products like coal tar, sulphur and ammonia.

According to Wikipedia, UK coal gas had the following composition.

  • Hydrogen 50%
  • Methane 35%
  • Carbon monoxide 10%
  • Ethylene 5%

It was one of the suicide methods of choice for the unhappily married. I don’t miss the foul stuff, with its poisonous carbon monoxide.

But as you can see, it does have a high percentage of hydrogen!


I’m not a fan of using coal gas, but these two Polish companies are another group investigating the use of hydrogen as a method of powering trains and other rail vehicles.


July 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

A Big Step For Rail Baltica

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Rail Baltica procurement agreement signed.

Rail Baltica is a large  project to create a standard gauge railway from Tallinn in Estonia to Bialiystok in Poland via Riga in Latvia and Kaunus in Lithuania.

One extra part of the plan is to build a rail tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn, to connect Finland to the European railway network.

This Google Map shows the Gulf of Finland.

The Gulf Of Finland

The Gulf Of Finland

Helsinki and Taillinn are in the West on the North and South coasts respectively, with St. Petersburg in the East.

I would think, that a Taillinn to Helsinki Tunnel, would be feasible, but at probably sixty kilometres it would be the longest undersea tunnel in the world.

Now that the various parties have agreed to proceed, we might see some progress on building the main route from Tailinn to Bialystok, which hopefully will be finished in 2025.

October 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Off To Krakow

I’m leaving for Krakow in a few minutes on easyJet from Gatwick

My overnight schedule is as follows ;-

Wednesday, June 10th – Krakow

Thursday, June 10th – Krakow

Friday, June 12th – Prague

Saturday, June 13th – Dresden

Sunday, June 14th – Dresden

Monday, June 15th – Osnabruck

I’ll be on the last Eurostar out of Brussels on the 16th

Obviously, all of the trips in the middle will be by train.

If you want to get in touch, text me on 07860-243707 starting the message with Krakow.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Why We Shouldn’t Mine Coal

I’m sixty-seven this year and all my life, every year or so, I’ve heard reports of the deaths of coal miners.

Now today, there are reports of a serious mine disaster in Turkey.

When I was in Poland, I shared a train compartment with a lady going to Katowice. I remember the city for a mining disaster in the 1950s, which was nearby.

Isn’t it about time, we stopped mining the filthy stuff, as it just creates grief for the miners and their families? And of course there’s always the issue of global warming.

May 13, 2014 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Planning Another Trip

Since my return from Gdansk, I’ve been thinking about another trip to Poland.

I would go a bit more southerly and probably start with two nights in Krakow. I would probably then go to Prague, possibly spending a night en route at either Wroclaw or Poznan.

From then it would be on to Dresden, a city I’ve always wanted to see. From there there would be an intermediate stop before Cologne, where I would run for home using a Eurostar ticket, as I outlined in this post.

So the trip would look something like this.

Day 1 – Krakow

Day 2 – Krakow

Day 3 – Wroclaw/Poznan/Other (?)

Day 4 – Prague

Day 5 – Prague

Day 6 – Dresden

Day 7 – Weimar/Nuremberg/Other (?)

Obviously, nothing is cast in stone and any suggestions would be gratefully received.

May 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Gluten-Free Sweets In Warsaw

I found this shop close to the Old Town Square in Warsaw.

It was selling gluten-free sweets.

What attracted me was the gluten-free sign on the door. It looks like someone is doing their best to promote the concept of gluten-free food.

On searching the Internet I found this Polish site.

One thing I notice in the site is that the Polish Coeliac Society was only founded in 2006. So things must have improved in recent years.

We need a few more gluten-free sweet shops!

April 29, 2014 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Smoking In Restaurants In Poland

The weather in Poland was so good that I ate outside in a couple of places.

But unlike the UK, where people tend not to smoke where food is served, you sometimes get smokers in the areas outside restaurants.

April 28, 2014 Posted by | Health, World | , , | Leave a comment