Gravity powers batteries for renewable energy


Scottish startup Gravitricity announced last week that its prototype gravity-based battery is now operational, capable of switching between drawing energy from the grid and sending it back in a matter of seconds. The design offers an alternative to the chemical batteries that dominate the global energy storage market—a market that is growing hand in hand with renewable power, which needs to bank energy when the Sun shines or the wind blows, and release it when the grid faces high demand. The company is one of a handful of gravity-based energy storage companies attempting to improve on an old idea: pumped hydroelectric power storage, which pumps water uphill at times of low demand and releases it to spin turbines when it’s needed. But the new generation of gravity storage designs, which have a long road to market ahead of them, demand less specific terrain and aim to operate at a lower cost—with longer life spans and lower footprints than chemical batteries.

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