According to Renews.biz, Scottish start-up Gravitricity has won a £300,000 (€334,000) grant from the UK government to support an investigation of suitable sites in South Africa for its energy storage system.
Gravitricity has teamed up with South African energy consultancy RESA and specialist consultancy Caelulum. They will scope out retired mine shafts as suitable sites for the system which works by raising multiple heavy weights – up to 12,000 tonnes – in a deep shaft and releasing them when energy is required.
The partners will not begin their field trips until later this year because of the Covid-19 outbreak. The trio will then assess the commercial potential of a range of sites, select suppliers and make a final site selection.
Gravitricity said its system is ideally suited to South Africa, which has numerous mine shafts, some as deep as 3km. Deeper shafts allow for the storage of greater quantities of power.
RESA’s Melani De Lima said: “The South African electricity market is in crisis. Since 2008 the country has been faced with intermittent periods of load shedding. Even though the renewable energy technologies brought online by the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme provide a cleaner, greener solution to our country’s electricity supply problems, it does not solve the problem of intermittent electricity supply to the South African grid. Gravitricity offers a solution that addresses the problem of intermittency by storing large amounts of energy, and also addresses grid imbalances through super-fast response times.”
Within the project, Gravitricity will “guide the technical and commercial aspects” and identify relevant sites for deployment of its energy storage technology.
Gravitricity managing director Charlie Blair added: “The country has ambitious plans to develop more renewable energy, but at the same time there is a lack of supply and robust grid infrastructure to carry power to factories and people’s homes – particularly at peak times. Our technology uses repurposed mine shafts to store excess energy and then release it when required – either in very rapid, short bursts or over a long period of time – taking pressure off the grid and helping smooth supply at vital times.”