Gravity energy storage could help decarbonise India

29 November 2022

A new project aims to identify how gravity energy storage can help decarbonise one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Scottish energy storage specialists Gravitricity have secured £194,000 from the UK government to find a demonstration site in India suitable for their gravity energy storage technology.

Gravitricity has developed an innovative energy storage system which works by raising heavy weights – totalling up to 12,000 tonnes – in a deep shaft and then releasing them when energy is required. 

It could be a solution ideally suited to India, which has set a target to install over 500 GW of renewables by 2030, up from 100 GW in 2021, to supply its fast-growing economy. This rapid increase in variable renewable generation – much of it solar – will bring with it a need for energy storage. It has been calculated that the Gravitricity system can store energy at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries, and have an operating life of 60 years.  

The Edinburgh firm has now partnered with Indian energy specialists Panitek Power in the 12-month project to identify a shortlist of sites for a demonstration scheme. Chris Yendell, Project Development manager at Gravitricity commented: “[This is] a relatively simple technology. It doesn’t rely on any rare earth metals, and has a very long lifespan, meaning it can be manufactured and deployed locally alongside the vast amounts of new grid infrastructure which will also be required to meet the rapid growth in demand.”

“India has an immediate and growing need for energy storage technologies,” states Parag Vyas, chief commercial officer at Panitek Power. “In many locations there is little or no grid, and it makes sense to integrate energy storage within their evolving infrastructure to cope with intermittent generation.”

The project is being supported by the Energy Catalyst Round 9 – Early Stage competition. In this scheme Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of the Ayrton Fund to invest up to £20 million in innovation projects which have the potential to accelerate the innovation needed to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or Indo-Pacific regions. 

Image: A new gravity-based energy storage concept is heading for trials in India (courtesy of Gravitricity)

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