Giant Hanging Concrete Blocks Could Be the Answer to the World’s Energy Storage Needs

By: | December 5th, 2018

Image courtesy : Energy Vault

Across the world, there is a wide variation in energy consumption during the day and night. The demand for electricity increases dramatically in the morning and evening when people use way more energy.

Utility companies have been trying to find out the cost effective ways to store the energy to meet these temporary high demands.

Presently, storing 100 megawatts of energy means spending millions of dollars on massive batteries like Tesla’s Powerpacks.

Now, a Switzerland and California based company Energy Vault have claimed to have a solution to that problem by slashing the cost of energy storage to a fraction of what it costs today.

Simple solution…Energy by Gravity

The technology is based on the principles of pumped hydro storage similar to a hydro plant that pumps water up a hill during off-peak hours to release it back during peak hours. But here, no dam or a hill is required to store water.

Power Tower

Energy Vault’s solution consists of a 35-story tower surrounded by 5,000 huge concrete blocks. A six-armed crane on the tower lifts these 35 metric ton concrete blocks when energy requirements are low. The blocks are dropped to the ground when the energy requirements are high, capturing the energy with a generator.

Energy Vault claims its system has an overall efficiency 90% with a useful life of at least 30 years with almost no degradation in performance over time. What makes the power tower even more sustainable is the use of recycled concrete instead of new cement construction.

Energy Vault’s first customer is an Indian electric utility – Tata Power Company Limited.

Robert Piconi, CEO of Energy Vault and co-founder, said, “The world needs rapidly scalable and sustainable energy storage solutions to meet one of the most urgent challenges – the need to decarbonize our energy generation – and we’re thrilled to launch Energy Vault’s unique technology to help solve this problem.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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