ABB joins effort to generate power in old mine shafts

The system drops heavy weights attached to cables down the shaft to spin turbines (Gravitricity)
Swiss manufacturer ABB has teamed up with a UK startup developing a system for generating electricity in old mine shafts.

Called GraviStore, the system drops heavy weights attached to cables down the shaft to spin turbines.

It can be activated instantly to meet spikes in demand or dips in the supply of wind or solar power.

The company developing it, Gravitricity, told GCR it can produce big bursts of electricity quickly, or a steadier supply by slowing the weight’s descent.

Gravitricity said the concept has been proven with a scale demonstrator. The next step is to commercialise it among decommissioned mines worldwide.

It says it has seen “ significant interest” from mine operators in Europe, India, and Australia.

In signing a memorandum of understanding with ABB, it hopes to tap into ABB’s expertise in electrification and mine-hoist technology.

“As the world generates more electricity from intermittent renewable energy sources, there is a growing need for technologies which can capture and store energy during periods of low demand and release it rapidly when required,” said Martin Wright, Gravitricity’s co-founder and executive chairman.

“Our GraviStore underground gravity energy storage uses the force of gravity to offer some of the best characteristics of lithium-ion batteries and pumped hydro storage – at low cost, and without the need for any rare earth metals.”

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