Technology 3 min read

Energy Startup Develops a Storage System Powered by Gravity

Gravitricity plant visualised within rural edge landscape setting using 3D software./ Gravitricity

Gravitricity plant visualised within rural edge landscape setting using 3D software./ Gravitricity

Legend has it that English physicist Sir Isaac Newton first discovered gravity when he saw an apple fell from its tree while pondering nature and its forces.

Whatever the real story may be, Newton realized that an object should have remained at rest unless some force is acting on it.

The English scientists also noted that the moon should drift away from our planet in a straight line tangent to its orbit. Unless, again, a force is causing it to fall towards Earth.

Newton eventually concluded that the force exists between all objects, and he went ahead to call it “gravity.”

That was back in 1687. Today, various thinkers have contributed to the fascinating concept of gravity.

Cosmologist Stephen Hawking declared, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” Similarly, physicist Paul Dirac noted: “Pick a flower on Earth, and you move the farthest star.

Now, a British energy startup, Gravitricity, also wants to contribute to the history of gravity. The company has started the construction of an energy storage system powered by — you guessed it — gravity.

The company’s website reads:

“Our patented technology is based on a simple principle: raising and lowering a heavy weight to store and release energy.”

Here’s how it works.

Using Gravity to Create a new Energy Storage System

The process involves manipulating massive wings in a tall shaft to store and deploy energy at will.

The shafts will be one mile tall, with weights that range between 500 and 5,000 tons. Massive winches will raise and lower the weight, pressuring the shafts to boost energy output.

According to the startup, the system can generate a peak power between 1 and 20 megawatts.

Along with offering continuous output for up to 8 hours, the gravity-powered system can achieve maximum wattage in less than a second. As such, it could prove useful as a back-up power solution.

Storing Energy at a Lower Cost

Gravitricity officials maintain that their new storage mechanism is more cost-effective than the current lithium-ion battery solutions. That’s because it can charge and discharge multiple times a day without losing performance for over two decades.

Also, the company placed the system’s efficiency between 80 percent and 90 percent. It should last for half a century, they added.

Gravitricity is currently developing a prototype system in Scotland that’s due for completion and testing next year. They’re limiting the prototype to a 17 yards high shaft and a 250-kilowatt capacity. However, a full-scale implementation should follow shortly after.

Lead engineer at Gravitricity, Miles Franklin explained:

“This two-month test program will confirm our modeling and give us valuable data for our first full-scale 4 megawatt project that will commence in 2021.”

The company envisions repurposing several abandoned coal mining shafts globally for the power storage plants.

Read More: Using Shrimp Shells to Create Batteries for Renewable Energy Storage

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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