As the mines progress towards their decline, a Start The British are already thinking about how to give them a new life, are in favor of the environment. This is Gravitricity, a specialist company that plans to convert mining wells into massive clean energy storage systems. The proposal, which combines the best of lithium batteries and pump storage systemsThis is not just another idea, it is on its way to becoming a reality in the UK.

Gravity awaits you complete the design of your system and test its feasibility with a proof of concept of 250 kW. “We are looking forward to testing our first full-scale prototype at a disused UK mine.”, they assure of the company without revealing, for the moment, more details.

What they are explaining with crystal clarity is the concept behind their initiative. “Our technology is based on a very simple principle: lifting and lowering a weight important (one 3000 ton cylinder). Thus, sharing the same gasoline as pumped storage systems, the excess energy captured by the sun or the wind is absorbed or generated, depending on whether the cylinder is rising or falling.

“It has similar advantages to pumping, without the need for a nearby mountain which also has a lake at the top.”. In fact, although the system has more components, such as synthetic cylinder fasteners, what cannot be missing is the hole under the ground. And that’s where the mines come in. Facing the dug holes ad hoc, wells not only allow you to take advantage of unused space, but also reduce the cost of this solution. In fact, the biggest bite would be taken, precisely, by activating the concavity, which must have a depth of between 150 and 1,500 meters.

With a multitude of possible beneficiaries at the center of this StartFrom users with grid restrictions to the distribution grids themselves, these clean energy storage mines could operate at powers between 1 and 20 MW. But, in addition to that, there is an aspect which multiplies the attractiveness of the idea. Faced with a peak in demand for energy in the network, how to inflate as quickly as necessary? The question is solved by gravity. Its mechanism you don’t need a second to go from zero to full power. In addition, its configuration allows it to provide energy for periods ranging from fifteen minutes to eight hours. All this, in addition, with an efficiency of between 80 and 90%.

Effective in general, but also in terms of costs, simple, versatile, fast … are the elements which, in the opinion of the promoters of this initiative, stand out. This, in addition, has another strong; an estimated useful life of fifty years, with no limit to the number of cycles in operation.

Now, after receiving £ 650,000 from UK competition Infrastructure Systems Innovation, the company is well on its way to testing the potential it anticipates. If confirmed, the jump may have a weight meet the challenges of intermittency from sources such as solar power wind energy, as well as to progress towards the achievement of the Paris agreements. For this, the storage capacity must increase from 140 to 450 GW between 2014 and 2050. This idea can push in this direction and, at the same time, give new life to the mines and, with it, to the populations who lived there and around. of them.


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