ABB and Gravitricity to collaborate on energy storage

ABB has signed an agreement with Gravitricity to explore how hoist technologies can accelerate gravity energy storage systems in former mines.

ABB provides complete mine hoist systems to customers worldwide
ABB provides complete mine hoist systems to customers worldwide - ABB

Edinburgh-based Gravitricity has developed GraviStore, a gravity energy storage system that raises and lowers heavy weights in underground shafts. The company said that future GraviStores will store over 20MWh, providing long-duration storage and rapid power delivery to network-constrained users and operators, distribution networks and major power users.

Gravitricity has proven the system with a scale demonstrator in Leith and is exploring the potential to deploy its technology in decommissioned mines worldwide.

With an installed base of over 1,000 hoist solutions globally, ABB will provide research and development, product development and engineering teams specialising in the design, engineering and operations of mine hoists and mechanical, electrical and control technologies for hoisting.

“As the world generates more electricity from intermittent renewable energy sources, there is a growing need for technologies which can capture and store energy during periods of low demand and release it rapidly when required,” Martin Wright, Gravitricity’s co-founder and executive chairman said in a statement.

“Our GraviStore underground gravity energy storage uses the force of gravity to offer some of the best characteristics of lithium-ion batteries and pumped hydro storage – at low cost, and without the need for any rare earth metals.

“We are already seeing significant interest from mine operators in Europe, India and Australia and this partnership with ABB – with decades of electrification and mine hoist system expertise – will help us accelerate our ambitious commercialisation plans.”

Gravitricity will bring expertise in grid compliance and control systems and the teams will collaborate on feasibility studies to understand the application of existing hoisting technology in gravity energy stores. ABB will also offer mining industry consultation and work to identify suitable sites and shafts for the deployment of GraviStore.

“ABB has 130 years of history with mine hoists, since we first electrified one in Sweden in the 1890s, but this collaboration with Gravitricity shows how we can continue to diversify and adapt our technologies,” said Charles Bennett, Global Service manager, Business Line Hoisting, ABB Process Industries. “We are eager to progress with our collaboration and explore the possibilities as we become part of the next generation of renewable energy storage systems and make use of mine shafts that are no longer in service.”