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Green energy stores of the future
2nd Quarter 2018, This Week's Editor's Pick, Other technologies


Former South African mines could find a new lease of life – with old mine shafts turned into hi-tech green energy stores. Energy startup, Gravitricity has just received a R12 million grant from Innovate UK, the British government’s innovation agency, for its plan to harness the power of gravity to store renewable energy. South Africa has been identified as an ideal country to roll out the green energy stores. The technology uses a massive weight suspended in a mine shaft to capture green power and then release it in seconds. If Gravitricity’s plan succeeds, its technology could breathe new life into former mining communities.

Gravitricity will start building a scale demonstrator later this year and will install a full-scale prototype by 2020. “Gravitricity uses a heavy weight of 2000 tons suspended in a deep shaft by cables attached to winches,” explains managing director, Charlie Blair. “When there is excess electricity, for example on a windy day, the weight is winched to the top of the shaft ready to generate power. This weight can then be released when required and the winches become generators, producing either a large burst of electricity quickly, or releasing it more slowly depending on what is needed.”

Unlike batteries, the system can operate for decades without any degradation or reduction in performance. The startup plans to build models from 1 to 20 MW, and estimates each energy storage system will last up to 50 years.

For more information contact Neil Davidson, Gravitricity, +44 75 4573 5402, neil@neildavidson.org, www.gravitricity.com


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