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Renewable energy’s biggest constraint is cost-effective storage

Is gravity the answer?

, |

Renewable energy’s biggest constraint is cost-effective storage

Is gravity the answer?

, |

< 1 min read

Last year we wrote about an interesting UK-based startup that had designed a system to store electricity by raising heavy weights during low demand (or bright sunshine), and releasing them into mineshafts when needed. Seemed like a great idea – and now they are crowdfunding to build a prototype.

Gravitricity – state of play

The Gravitricity model is such a simple concept that it’s a complete no-brainer – especially in South Africa. They are based in Britain, but they intend to build gravity storage systems in many locations around the world – and South Africa is one of them. Not surprisingly, really, as the most important requirement for the system is a conveniently deep disused mineshaft. We have loads of those.

They have successfully built a 250kW concept demo in Edinburgh that proves that the system works, and now they are thinking bigger.

First Gravitricity full-scale prototype

The company has started crowdfunding to raise the £750,000 needed to finalise plans and groundwork for the first full-scale prototype that will be built somewhere in the world. The options are the UK, Europe, the USA and – ta-daaa! – South Africa. It would be nice for those old mineshafts to serve a useful purpose.

Once they’ve decided on where to build it, they will partner with companies all over the world (and, no doubt, in the country where they’re building the prototype) to form special purpose vehicle (SPV) companies. So it looks as if there might be loads of opportunities – from investing £10 to give your grandchild a ‘share’ in the future, to buying into the SPV – to help make reliable, cost-effective energy storage a reality.

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