Gravity batteries offer a better energy storage alternative

Gravity batteries are a new technology that supports the generation and storage of renewable energy through regenerative braking and gravity. A recent study of this technology has shown that old mines can be crucial to improving the use of gravity batteries, as they provide an ideal landscape.

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In recent research, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) has reviewed the possibility of using gravity batteries. The researchers studied a system known as Underground Gravity Energy Storage (UGES). In this system, large containers loaded with sand are dropped into mine shafts when the energy is at peak hours. The containers then convert their potential energy into real energy through regenerative braking.

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The study published in the journal “Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute” proved that the concept of gravity batteries is indeed viable. The study shows that when the containers are lowered, they recharge the mine and bring the sand back to the surface when the energy is low.

“Mines already have the basic infrastructure and are connected to the power grid, which significantly reduces costs and facilitates the deployment of UGES plants,” IIASA researcher Julian Hunt said in a statement.

Since the batteries do not lose energy during the storage period, they can act as long-term energy reservoirs. In addition to their energy storage capacity, these batteries could tap into lots of unused resources hiding in old mines. Furthermore, they could preserve a lot of jobs that may be lost by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The only problem with this technology is that the batteries are too big. They are unattractive and must not be erected in areas without old mines. With countries like the US having so many abandoned mines, scientists are working to prove that they should be converted into productive energy sources. Just earlier this month, researchers unveiled a battery that uses abandoned mines to generate and store energy for the future.

Media reports also indicate that some companies are already exploring ways to turn abandoned coal mines into energy sources. However, the challenges faced include the location of such mines and the nature of the batteries.

Via Popular Mechanics

Lead image via Energy Vault

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