Gravitricity to build its first gravity storage demonstrator

13 May 2020

Edinburgh energy storage start-up Gravitricity has signed a land rental agreement with Forth Ports to build their first demonstrator project on land within the Port of Leith. Work will begin on the £1 million project in October, on an industrial site at the port with plans to be up and running by late December this year. The siting of the 16m high demonstrator takes advantage of port’s extensive electrical network and grid connections. The demonstrator will be used to demonstrate the innovative system’s speed of response.

The energy battery works by raising multiple heavy weights – totalling up to 12000 tonnes – in a deep shaft and releasing them when energy is required. They plan to roll out their technology in disused mine shafts worldwide. 

The demonstrator at the Port of Leith will allow the technology to be trialled on a much smaller scale, 250 kW, with a drop of 7 metres in 14 seconds, utilising an above ground structure. 

Commenting on the project, Gravitricity lead engineer Miles Franklin said: “This grid-connected demonstrator will use two 25-tonnes weights suspended by steel cables. In our first test we’ll drop the weights together to generate full power and verify our speed of response. We calculate we can go from zero to full power in less than a second – which can be extremely valuable in the frequency response and back-up power markets. We will then run tests with the two single weights, dropping one after the other to verify smooth energy output over a longer period. Together, this two-month test programme will confirm our modelling and give us valuable data for our first full-scale 4 MW project which will commence in 2021.”
The project is supported by a £640 000 grant from UK government funder Innovate UK.

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