Gravity energy storage

Ramin Roushenas, Ehsan Gholamyankarkon, Ahmad Arabkoohsar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

As mentioned in one of the previous chapters, pumped hydropower electricity storage (PHES) is generally used as one of the major sources of bulk energy storage with 99% usage worldwide (Aneke & Wang, 2016; Rehman et al., 2015). The system actually consists of two large water reservoirs (traditionally, two natural water dams) at different elevations, where water is pumped to the higher reservoir off­peak and released to flow through a hydraulic turbine during the demand time. Despite having many advantages for PRES, such as a high round-trip efficiency (up to 85%-90%), very high energy storage capacity and density, etc., its large capital cost, certain environmental impacts on natural water sources, and special geographical conditions have always been of concern. With respect to the latter disadvantage of the technology, that is, suffering from limited applicability to loca­tions with appropriate geography for building lower and upper reservoirs, some intelligent experts were thinking there might be another energy storage concept that stands on the shoulder of the same operating principle (that is taking advantage of gravity and potential energy) yet addresses this critical challenge. The conclusion of this brainstorming has been gravitational energy storage (GES).

A GES system is a unit that uses the force of gravity as the medium for storing electricity. In other words, a GES system stores electricity in the form of a heavy weight taken to higher elevations. When discharging, the weight is released to move down, actuating an electricity generator for producing power. Unlike the pre­vious two MES technologies introduced, for which the scientific literature presents a number of articles covering various aspects of their performance and characteris­tics, GES technology does not yet have a rich literature. The main reason for this is that storing energy using gravity's force is a fairly novel idea, proposed in the last couple of years, and therefore not many researchers or companies with related activities know about it or believe in it yet. The few articles available in the litera­ture and other online sources, including the websites of the companies behind the technology and some online videos, introduce a few different designs of GES tech­nology and provide information about the operation principles of these systems. According to these sources, GES technology might come in different configura­tions, being classified into wet and dry GES configurations. These technologies are schematically introduced and discussed in principle in the next section.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFuture Grid-Scale Energy Storage Solutions : Mechanical and Chemical Technologies and Principles
EditorsAhmad Arabkoohsar
PublisherElsevier
Publication date2023
Pages543-569
Chapter14
ISBN (Print)9780323907866
ISBN (Electronic)9780323914406
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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