Home » Scottish firm to turn former coal mine into giant battery

Scottish firm to turn former coal mine into giant battery

by Sion Geschwindt
Gravitricity mine czech republic

Scottish energy storage company Gravitricity has entered into a new partnership that could see a former coal mine in the Czech Republic transformed into “the first full-scale gravity energy store in Europe”.

Gravitricity has developed a gravity-based energy storage system that uses heavy weights suspended in a deep shaft. The weights are winched up during times of excess electricity, for instance on a windy day, and released during times of peak demand, providing power to the grid.

The firm has trialled its technology extensively at its demonstrator plant in Edinburgh, and is now ready to go full-scale.

It has signed a memorandum of understanding with Diamo, the Czech state enterprise tasked with safely decommissioning mines in the republic, to build a working demonstrator at the former Darkov deep mine. The facility would store enough energy to power more than 16,000 homes.

The new partners will now work together to secure European Union funds to scale the technology further. This follows Gravitricity’s announcement last month that it plans to raise £40m to fund the construction of green energy storage facilities over the next five years.

In a separate project, Gravitricity is also planning to design and build a gravity based energy storage system near East Knapton in Yorkshire.

HeraldScotland: The team inside the Darkov site, which was opened in 1972
The team inside the Darkov site, which was opened in 1972 (credit: Gravitricity)

Charlie Blair, Gravitricity managing director, said that “a low carbon world will require vast amounts of energy storage”.

He claimed the firm has developed a “long-life energy storage technology which can deliver super-fast energy” and offers some of the best characteristics of lithium batteries and pumped hydro storage.

“We hope our collaboration with Diamo will allow us to demonstrate this technology at scale and offer a potential future for coal mines that are approaching the end of their original service life,” he added.

Matt Field, British Ambassador to the Czech Republic, said: “It is a great honour to host this Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony.

“We truly appreciate that Gravitricity, Diamo and Technical University Ostrava plan to cooperate on Gravitricity’s first prototype project. It would be the first full-scale installation of this renewable energy technology, a project that is unique, transformative and green.”

Ludvik Kaspar, Diamo chief executive, said its main task is to “provide the liquidation of mines, but at the same time we are looking for new uses for the mine sites according to the needs of the region”.

He said: “The Gravitricity project is an opportunity for mines and also for our experts, who can try working on new projects and cooperation with a foreign entity.”

Read next: UGL to install mega battery system in Queensland

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