Our first full-scale project
In 2022 we will commence the development of our first full-scale project at a mine site in mainland Europe.
We are already well advanced in the pre-selection of sites suitable for a 4-8MW single weight project which, once operational, will deliver up to two-megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage. Future multi-weight systems could have a capacity of 25MWh or more.
In Czechia, our company engineers have scoped the Staříč mine in the Moravian Silesian region [pictured], where six deep mining sites were formally transitioned into a post-mining phase in early 2021.
On-site, they investigated the mine shaft, traveling to a depth of over 1km underground, and met state-run mine owners DIAMO, along with the regional government and local stakeholders including VSB Technical University of Ostrava.
In Poland we have attended the KOMTECH energy storage conference, met mine owners, and presented a focused session on green energy in mining.
The Staříč mine lies within a large coalfield that extends across the border into Poland and is one of a number of mainland European sites shortlisted. We plan to make a final site decision early next year.
In Poland, there are more than 30 recently decommissioned mines, and worldwide we estimate there are around 14,000 mines that could be suitable for gravity energy storage.
Our 250kW Edinburgh demonstrator
During 2021 we successfully constructed, commissioned, and operated a 250kW, grid-connected demonstration project using a 15 metre high rig at the Port of Leith, Edinburgh.
The demonstrator uses two 25-tonnes weights suspended by steel cables. In a series of tests, we dropped the weights together to generate full power and verify our speed of response.
We then ran tests with the two single weights, dropping one after the other to verify smooth energy output over a longer period, alongside a programme of other tests to demonstrate and refine the full capabilities of the system.
This three-month test programme has confirmed our modelling and gives us valuable data for our first full-scale 4-8MW project which will commence in 2022.
Other full-scale projects
In addition to exploring sites in mainland Europe, we are also investigating opportunities for purpose-built prototype shafts at brownfield locations in the UK, where gravity storage could be combined with hydrogen and inter-seasonal heat storage.
In South Africa, we are engaged with a number of globally recognised mining houses and are supported through the Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst program. This has led to the development of in-country partnerships with project development and mining specialists.