Gravity-based systems fulfill the criteria of becoming a promising utility-scale renewable energy storage solution in the near future.
FREMONT, CA: The optimized usage of renewable energy depends on the availability of dependable, utility-scale energy storage systems to a large extent. Due to this, energy sector companies and researchers are busy formulating innovative solutions that would solve the energy storage issues that currently exist. Gravity-based energy storage is one such solution that is grabbing a lot of eyeballs lately. While lithium-ion batteries and pumped hydro energy storage systems become mainstream, the prospects of gravity-based energy storage have stakeholders in the energy sector excited. The reasons why the energy industry is rooting for this novel method of energy storage can be understood from the following.
A Viable Long-Term Energy Storage Solution
Gravity-based storage systems can augment existing energy storage capabilities. With the energy sector aiming to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, clean energy alternatives have to be bolstered. The higher the energy storage capacities become, the better are the prospects of achieving 100 percent renewable targets without the fear of sudden disruptions or blackouts. Besides, gravity-based storages, unlike lithium-ion batteries, are long-term, and thus, will be advantageous in the long run.
Fewer Topographical Limitations
When compared to pumped hydro energy storage, a gravity-based energy storage solution will have fewer topographical limitations. Pumped hydro requires the presence of abundant amounts of water, as well as viable topographical features. On the other hand, gravity-based storage can be developed at abandoned mines, mountains, and hills, or any natural or artificial structure from where weights can be released. The weights can also be anything ranging from concrete blocks to bricks. Thus, there is a lot of flexibility.
The Cost Factor
Financial feasibility is essential in every large-scale energy storage solution. Gravity-based storage systems are expected to cost less when compared to the other alternatives like batteries or pumped hydro. Developing gravity
based storage facilities requires less time and less investment.
Initial studies also predict that the cycle efficiency in a gravity-based energy storage system will be better than that which has been achieved with pumped hydro. Thus, the buzz that the novel energy-storage alternative has been creating is legit.
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