UK government funds gravel-based mechanical battery

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US company Energy Cache is one of 12 Phase One winners in DECC’s Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition.

The Pasadena-based company has developed what it describes as a novel mechanical battery that improves on the cost and performance of pumped hydro, compressed air, and similar storage solutions, whilst avoiding the issue of finding suitable sites.

The company will share £500,000 to undertake feasibility work for a proposed project to deliver the final design, construction, and testing of a 250kW, two-hour capacity, commercial-scale demonstrator that addresses bulk energy storage needs and rapid response capabilities.

DECC says it will invite some of the innovators who won funding under the Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition to take part in the second, demonstration phase of the competition later in 2013, with up to £17m available to test designs by the end of March 2015.

Update: Energy Cache declined The Engineer’s request for information on the energy efficiency or the captial cost per MW of the system, despite receiving UK public money for a feasability study on the technology.