Energy storage is a crucial element to sustainable, carbon-free energy systems. The production of renewable energy fluctuates according to the availability of sunshine, wind, and waves throughout the day. The demand for electricity varies according to human behavior – meaning there are times of excess energy production and times of higher demand.
This has posed a significant problem in creating 100% renewable-energy power grids, as renewable energy stops being produced when the wind stops blowing and the sun isn’t shining. This necessitates infrastructure capable of storing and releasing excess energy according to supply and demand.
Lithium-ion batteries have proved an effective energy-storage method. However, their creation and disposal incur significant carbon costs due to mining, transportation, and production. They also degrade over time with repeated charging and discharging of energy, making them less than ideal as a low-carbon storage method.
Other storage systems, such as compressed air energy storage, hydrogen storage, flywheel, and pumped storage power plants, also provide effective energy storage solutions but come with relatively high initial investment, operation and maintenance, replacement, and charging costs.
Gravitricity offers a versatile, long-lasting solution to this problem. By harnessing the power of gravity and existing infrastructure, the Gravitricity concept uses excess energy to winch a substantial weight hung in already-existing disused mineshafts. The weight can be released and lowered as necessary, turning the winches into generators – raising the weight loads the system, while dropping the weight releases the electricity out to the grid.
The weight is raised during times of excess renewable energy production, meaning it is a self-reliant system capable of functioning with solar or wind generation methods. Furthermore, the ability to capitalize on disused mineshafts, (of which there are an estimated 150,000 in the UK alone) minimizes construction and implementation costs with the concept.
As countries endeavor to adhere to the ambitious emission standards as outlined in the 2016 Paris Agreement, renewable energy systems need to be as low-impact as possible. As batteries and other alternative energy-storage systems improve, the future for a zero-emission energy grid looks more and more likely.
Daniel Grainger is a copywriter who has helped brands gain industry authority for over two years. He provides content creation and content marketing services, specializing in the renewable energy and environmental industries. His educational and employment background, including a BS in ecology and environmental biology, has given him a firm base from which to approach many topics. His articles focus on balancing informative and direct-response writing – to ensure reader value. Learn more about Daniel by visiting his website www.orcwriting.com.