As an alternative to batteries, Gravitricity and Energy Vault stand out for grid storage systems. Get to know both the systems and what Gravitricity recently uncovered.
These projects from Swiss and Italy are using basic concepts of lifting mass and dropping it. Such an energy storage facility can fit almost anywhere. Additionally, they are working on cheaper options with fewer environmental hazards.
Working of the system- Energy Vault
The energy Vault’s towers are designed in such a way that the blocks are constantly stacked and unstacked. Furthermore, the bricks weigh 35- metric tons and are usually stacked up to 35 megawatt-hours of energy. Eventually he six arms are designed to unstack the blocks. How the energy is generated is the main question here.
Here, the six-arm system is the key part. Its design is such that while one-half of the system is loading the bricks. The other half is unloading them. The balancing nature of the arms creates energy while moving.
Advantages of the system
Robert Piconi is the CEO and confounded of Energy Vault. He says that this system has several advantages over the other systems. It doesn’t need chemically reactive components, nor lithium-ion batteries for storage. Also, cost-effective as most of the cost relies upon making the bricks. Which can be made from the waste.
Another advantage is that the operating expense is lower too. As the company calculated its costs, they deduced that the costs reduced half than batteries cost when this system is used.
As the generation of power through this system is continuous, and only needs gravity. This is considered to have the potential to get into the market.
In January, in an interview with Spectrum, the company said they are confident about starting multiple commercial installations. So far, the company successfully raised $110 million just to build the demonstration unit in 2019. The demo was done in Ticino.
Gravitricity energy storage
Being the sole competition for Energy Vault currently, Gravitricity’s energy system seems simple.
Their working system is similar to the concept behind Energy Vault. However, the change is where they plan to use only one arm or one pull, but use a heavier weight to stack and unstack the load.
They currently built demo one on the ground. However, they plan to build underground systems in the future. It is going to be an 8MW project. Meaning will be able to supply 1-hour of power to 5000 homes.
Furthermore, the UK-based project was able to receive funds of £1million from Innovate UK for their 12-meter high test rig. As told by the managing director, Charlie Blair,
“These tests confirm our modeling. And show that gravity energy storage is a serious contender in the global energy storage market.”
Further added that,
“We’ve proven we can go from zero to full power in less than a second – which can be extremely valuable in the frequency response and back-up power markets – plus our ability to continuously vary power output dependent on demand. In the coming months, we’ll be running tests with the two single weights, dropping one after the other to verify smooth energy output over a longer period.”
The popularity of solar, wind and turbo has blinded the exploration process in the eye of the viewers. However, companies are looking for more innovative energy creation as the demand is increasing day by day. Like, New Energy Let’s Go is looking for underground energy. This system working with pump water lifting an extremely heavy piston.
The answers lie all in the science. There are multiple theoretical models, which are yet to be used practically.