Published: 17 Jan 2022, 14:07
Energy storage firm Gravitricity has secured new project support led by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for its plans to build a full scale 4-8MW project in a former mine shaft.
Located in mainland Europe, the project follows a 250kW demonstrator which operated in Edinburgh throughout the summer and for which specialists appointed by the EIB has begun evaluating test results.
The results of the Edinburgh demonstrator are to be combined with a review of local revenue streams to produce a commercial risk assessment that will inform detailed design and development activities.
“We already have a high level of confidence in our technology and it’s ability to store energy effectively. What these studies will bring is increased understanding and confidence in how a full-scale project will play into a specific energy market,” said Chris Yendell, project development manager at Gravitricity.
Gravitricity’s energy storage solution works by raising weights in a deep shaft, with disused mine shafts currently being targeted by the firm, and releasing them when energy is required. Its proposed single weight full scale system could deliver up to 2MWh of energy storage, with future multi-weight systems having the potential for a capacity of 25MWh or more.
Alongside the test evaluations, the EIB has now also committed 120 days of consultancy time to advance the full scale project.
In October, Gravitricity engineers visited the recently mothballed Staříč mine in the Moravian Silesian Region of Czechia to investigate its potential for the project. The Gravitricity team is to head to mainland Europe later in January to further evaluate their shortlist, with a final selection decision expected within the next few months.
The firm is also exploring opportunities for a purpose-built prototype shaft at a brownfield location in the UK, where gravity storage could be combined with hydrogen and inter-seasonal heat storage.
Last year, ex-Good Energy CEO Juliet Davenport joined the company as an advisor to the board, stating that Gravitricity’s portfolio “can play a vital role in decarbonising the electricity grid”.
Meanwhile, Swiss company Energy Vault has also created a system that lowers and raises weights to provide energy, although it does so from a tower as opposed to using mine shafts. Earlier this month, Energy Vault formed a strategic partnership with non-ferrous metals smelting and refinery company Korea Zinc, which includes a US$50 million (£37 million) investment commitment.