Britain’s cheapest “virtual battery” could be created by hoisting and dropping 12,000-tonne weights – half the weight of the Statue of Liberty – down disused mine shafts, according to Imperial College London. The surprising new source of “gravity energy” is being developed by Gravitricity, an Edinburgh-based startup, which hopes to use Britain’s old mines to make better use of clean electricity at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries. Gravitricity said its system effectively stores energy by using electric winches to hoist the weights to the top of the shaft when there is plenty of renewable energy available, then dropping the weights hundreds of metres down vertical shafts to generate electricity when needed. The scheme mimics hydropower projects which have played a key role in helping to balance the electricity grid since the Dinorwig project in Wales began operating in the mid-1970s.
Guardian 21st Oct 2019 read more »