With the rising issue of climate change, clean energy is now an essential thing. Surprisingly, transitioning from fossil-fueled energy to renewable nature-supported technology is not that difficult to do. One of the clever solutions is Gravity Storage developed by Heindl Energy in Germany.
What is Gravity Storage?
Gravity Storage is a system that utilizes the power of gravity to store the electricity supply in the form of potential energy. As a storage media, the technology uses water and rocks, which are largely available on the earth. Heindl’s Gravity Storage can hold up to 8 GWh of potential energy for about 6-14 hours, making the arrangement suitable for bulk energy storage needs in large-scale.
The idea of this gravity-based energy storage came from Professor Eduard Heindl. The scientist/entrepreneur has a huge concern about renewable energy. The man realized how large-capacity energy storage is highly essential to support the stability of electricity supply. He also figured that combining a hydraulic lifting method with gravity force could make an efficient innovation for his idea.
Why Do We Need It?
Sustainable energy uses technology to generate electricity from natural resources such as solar cells and wind turbines. However, nature does not stay the same every time. Wind may blow slower on one day and harder on another day. And the sun will not be shining at night.
This unstable situation results in an unstable supply of electricity, which might be inconvenient for us. But with an energy storage technology, the excess potential energy can be saved to be released at the times when the electricity supply is low.
Many technologies of energy storage are discovered, including this brand-new concept of Gravity Storage by Heindl Energy. According to research by Imperial London College, this engineering operation turned out to be the most efficient technology compared to some other bulk energy storage systems.
How the Gravity Storage System Works
Heindl’s Gravity Storage uses a giant tube that contains water under a pressuring mass of rocks. When the power supply is excessive, some are used to pump the water inside the tube. The hydraulic lifting system will allow the water to lift the rocks while keeping those excessive power on hold as potential energy.
When the power supply is low, the mass of rock will fall back down and push the water into the turbine. This action will drive the generator to discharge the power back.
Gravity Storage consumes significantly less energy than it receives and stores. According to the engineering calculation, this technology has an efficiency of 80-100% in storing the potential energy supply.
Take a look at the visualization below:
During the day, solar cells are charging. The water pushes the rocks up to conserve power.
At night, solar cells are off while the city needs more electricity. The rocks are going down, pushing the water to release power to be distributed to the residences.
You can also take a look at this short animation video:
The concept is quite similar to a hydro-pumped energy storage scheme, which has been around earlier. But instead using water in two different containers, Heindl’s Gravity Storage uses water and rocks in just one container.
Besides being the most efficient, Gravity Storage also happens to be the cheapest energy storage. Heindl Energy offers a complete installation with prices starting at only $160 per KWh (for a 10 GWh solution).
As a comparison, here are the prices for other bulk energy storage available on the market:
- Hydro-pump Storage – starting from $206
- Compressed Air – starting from $208
- Lithium-Ion – starting from $562
- Sodium Sulfur – starting from $327
Besides the installation, you also need to consider the operation cost. Amazingly, Gravity Storage only takes about 1% of the budget to keep the system running. The giant machine is estimated to last for 60 years.
There are many good reasons to consider taking Gravity Storage as your bulk energy storage. Just check out the following list:
- Works on a flat surface, unlike a hydro-pump system that requires different elevation
- Initial and operation costs are the lowest
- Effective to maintain your supply of clean energy
- Has the highest efficiency
- Most of the materials are natural and easy to get (rocks and water)
- Low carbon footprint
- No chemical required
- Not bringing out poisonous waste and pollution as fossil fuels do.
- Less energy usage because the system partially use the force of gravity to function
- Durable (can last up to 60 years or more)
No good things come without bad sides. So does the Gravity Storage. Here are the disadvantages of this innovation that you need to consider and anticipate before deciding to have one:
- May cause disturbing noises
- Construction might affect the soil and the surrounding environment
- Limited review and evaluation available because it is a new technology
- Needs to figure out how to dispose of the unused parts so they will not harm the environment
- Some energy is lost to keep the system running
- Will not worth for small to medium scale because construction is expensive and time-consuming
These cons should not be our reason to delay our action to tackle the climate crisis. Because even with all those disadvantages, Gravity Storage is still the most promising option you have for sustainable energy supply. Also, most of those consequences are still settleable. You only need to make enough effort to do that.
Contact Details of Company
If you are interested in Gravity Storage, Heindl Energy is the company you should contact. The headquarter is in Germany. Here are the options you have on how to get in touch with the company:
Main Office Address :
Am Wallgraben 99, 70565 Stuttgart, Germany
Phone : +49 711 6569689-0
Email : [email protected]
USA Branch Office
Address : Gravity Storage Inc. U.S. Representation
321 North Clark Street, Suite 1425
Chicago Illinois 60654-4714
Phone : +1 312-561-9790
Fax : +1 312-644-0738
Email : [email protected]
Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/company/gravity-storage/
Gravity Storage answers many problems with an energy supply that we have been struggling with all these times. This engineering design may bring new hope for the future of our planet.
Gravity Storage is suitable for bulk energy maintaining. It is highly recommended to install side by side with large-scale natural-sourced power plants. Those two technologies would work together in harmony and complement each other.