Can gravity batteries solve our energy storage problems?

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    • #487332
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
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      • Total Posts: 8,150

      By Alasdar Lane
      Read more at Source: BBC Future

      Could a cutting-edge technology that harnesses one of the universe’s fundamental forces help solve our energy storage challenge?
      A render of the Energy Vault Resiliency Centre™, a variant of Energy Vault's EVx gravity battery building (Credit: Energy Vault™)

      There is a riddle at the heart of the renewable energy revolution. When the wind blows, the sun shines, and the waves roll, there is abundant green power to be generated. But when skies darken and conditions are calm, what do we do?

      The answer, today, is to ramp up conventional power production, supplying the grid by burning fossil fuels. It is a 20th Century solution to a 21st Century problem – one that sits in sharp contrast with plans for carbon neutrality.

      A cleaner future will mean focusing on ever-larger lithium-ion batteries, some energy experts say. Others argue that green hydrogen is the worlds best hope. And then there are those placing their bets not on chemistry, but the limitless force that surrounds us all: gravity.

      “What goes up, must come down” – this is the immutable Newtonian logic underpinning gravity batteries. This new field of energy storage technology is remarkably simple in principle. When green energy is plentiful, use it to haul a colossal weight to a predetermined height. When renewables are limited, release the load, powering a generator with the downward gravitational pull.

      A similar approach, “pumped hydro”, accounts for more than 90% of the globes current high capacity energy storage. Funnel water uphill using surplus power and then, when needed, channel it down through hydroelectric generators. It’s a tried-and-tested system. But there are significant issues around scalability. Hydro projects are big and expensive with prohibitive capital costs, and they have exacting geographical requirements – vertiginous terrain and an abundance of water. If the world is to reach net-zero, it needs an energy storage system that can be situated almost anywhere, and at scale.

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

    • #487337
      jbnw
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      • Total Posts: 9,596

      It’d also be nice to solve the problem of getting energy without destroying the planet.

    • #487373
      Punxsutawney
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      There will always be some energy lost. I have no idea what a good number would be but I’d guess that anything over 75% would be great. Pumped hydro has a lot of draw backs including the fact that as heavy as water is, it’s not nearly as heavy as iron or concrete, which is basically ground up rock, (lime & sand/gravel) and water combined. And water storage would require either pumping it back up behind dams, or special containment areas which have a all the problems noted.  I noticed they mentioned iron for the weight, which is common and fairly easy to get, but concrete would be even cheaper. Of course, instead of bullets, maybe we could produce some lead weights.

      But large concrete slabs would work well I think and cheap. The key would be the rigging and gearing to get the weight lifted at least energy cost and then to fall back down maximizing the torque on the generators.

      In America, “Liberty” means “Free to Die in Service of Capital” - Amfortas the hippie.

      Most of today’s elites have the moral and social reasoning capacities of spoiled toddlers.

      “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage...but the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing c

      • #487395
        Mr. Mickeys Mom
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        • Total Posts: 8,150

        Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

        • #487416
          Punxsutawney
          Moderator
          • Total Posts: 2,367

          🙃

          In America, “Liberty” means “Free to Die in Service of Capital” - Amfortas the hippie.

          Most of today’s elites have the moral and social reasoning capacities of spoiled toddlers.

          “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage...but the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing c

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