With the fast decrease in the cost of renewable energy generation, such as wind and solar power, there is an increasing need for energy storage technologies to ensure that electricity supply and demand are appropriately balanced.
Researchers at IIASA have developed a novel energy storage idea that might convert towering buildings into batteries to enhance power quality in metropolitan areas. They have suggested a unique gravitational-based storage method that stores energy in lifts and vacant apartments in tall buildings.
Lift Energy Storage Technology (LEST), as the authors name it, stores energy by lifting wet sand containers or other high-density materials that are moved remotely in and out of a lift with autonomous trailer devices.
The most significant advantage of LEST is that the power capacity is already there in elevators equipped with regenerative braking systems. There are about 18 million elevators in use worldwide, and many of them spend a substantial amount of time stationary. When the elevators are not in use to transfer passengers, they can be utilized to store or generate power.
As with any new system, a few elements must to be worked out before the system can be implemented. This includes finding space to store the system’s weights as well as the ceiling bearing capability to hold weights without collapsing.
Environmentally friendly and adaptable storage technologies such as LEST are expected to become more important to society in a future when a major portion of its power originates from renewable sources.
Reference- Journal Science Direct, Clean Technica, Popular Mechanics, Tomorrow’s World