Storing wind and solar energy using gravity is not a new concept, but using abandoned mines shafts for this purpose is a more recent idea. The main concern is whether this method can be economically viable, and using mine shafts could potentially solve this challenge.
ABB believes that using abandoned mine shafts for gravity storage systems could be mutually beneficial, as mine owners are also looking for solutions because decommissioning of mine shafts is an expensive and time-consuming task.
So by using old mine shafts for energy storage, these shafts can continue to be useful for up to 50 years after they are no longer being used for mining. This can help reduce the costs of decommissioning the shafts and also create new job opportunities plus it can contribute to the transition towards green energy.
Keeping this in mind the company recently announced a partnership with Gravitricity, a UK energy storage company. ABB will use their knowledge in hoisting technology to assist Gravitricity in bringing their gravity system called “Gravistore” to the market faster.
ABB is excited about the Gravitricity system because it can operate for many years without losing effectiveness, unlike batteries. Gravitricity has successfully demonstrated the system on a smaller scale and is now looking into using their innovative technology in abandoned mines around the world.
ABB, a leading market player in mine hoists with over 1,000 hoist solutions globally, will work with them and other teams to provide research, development, and engineering expertise in the design, operations, and technologies related to mine hoists. It has been involved in the development of mine hoists for 130 years, starting from the electrification of one in Sweden in the 1890s. However, the partnership with Gravitricity demonstrates It’s ability to expand and modify technologies.
Reference- ABB Online Newsroom, Gravitricity PR, Clean Technica, Interesting Engineering, Futurism