Mexican materials group Cemex has invested in Californian start-up Energy Vault, a firm that has found a way to store energy inside concrete blocks using a system inspired by pump-storage hydroelectric plants.
Energy Vault’s solution uses the same fundamentals of physics and kinetic energy as pumped hydro but replaces the water with custom made cylindrical blocks.
Energy Vault comments on its website: "These low-cost blocks, combined with our patented system design and some very clever control software, has allowed us to deliver all the benefits of a pumped hydro system but at a much lower price, starting size and without the need for hard to find topography."
The tie-up with Cemex will provide Energy Vault with a network to distribute its "storage towers". Gonzalo Galindo, Cemex Venture’s chief executive, said: "Energy storage that enables power to be delivered for less than the cost of fossil fuels is critical as the world shifts away from its reliance on carbon-based fuels to renewable energy.
"Energy Vault’s storage technology is transformational, and we’re extremely pleased to broaden our relationship and support the company’s efforts. The investment is also important because it complements the Cemex R&D partnership and will accelerate our corporate objectives to achieve a carbon-free industrial footprint."
Robert Piconi, Energy Vault’s co-founder, said: "The combination of Cemex’s smart concrete solutions, significant global infrastructure and now its strategic investment will accelerate our ability to enable renewable energy to replace fossil fuels 24 hours a day."
Image courtesy of Energy Vault