SOM designs building prototypes that integrate energy generation and storage

The EVu which is said to be able to reach 1,000m-tall (Images courtesy of Energy Vault Holdings/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill/Pictury)
US architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has teamed up with Swiss energy storage company Energy Vault to create four building prototypes that can generate and store their own energy.

SOM is the architect and structural engineer for the four designs that use Energy Vault’s gravity energy systems.

They include systems that drop weights attached to cables that spin motors to generate electricity, and pumped hydro, which uses water.

The EVu prototype is a structure between 300m and 1,000m tall able to generate enough power for itself and other buildings.

The EVc prototype uses modular, water-based pumped hydro energy storage systems in a tall cylindrical structure that Energy Vault says lets it withstand earthquakes and high winds.

The EVy design, which is built into the landscape

The EVy is a standalone generator built on natural slopes to store energy with minimal environmental impact.

The EV0 is a modular pumped hydro system that does away with concrete. It uses a fabric vessel the company calls a “water tree” that is quick to install.

Each of the prototypes would have a lifespan of at least 35 years, without a decrease in energy storage capacity.

Robert Piconi, Energy Vault’s chairman, said the collaboration would allow “accelerated carbon payback in building construction and operation for the first time”.

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