Converting End-of-Life Mines into Energy Storage Systems

ABB, a global leader in electrification and automation, has embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration with Gravitricity, a UK-based pioneer in gravity energy storage, to revolutionize energy storage systems utilizing end-of-life mine shafts and cutting-edge hoist technology. This partnership is geared towards expediting the advancement and deployment of Gravitricity’s pioneering GraviStore, an innovative gravity energy storage solution designed to efficiently utilize underground shafts for storing and releasing energy.

Converting End-of-Life Mines into Energy Storage Systems

Image Credit: ABB Electrification

What is GraviStore?

Leveraging the benefits of lithium-ion batteries and pumped hydro storage, Gravitricity's innovative energy storage system, Gravistore, stands out for its remarkable capacity, which exceeds 20 MWh. This not only ensures extended-duration storage capabilities but also enables rapid power delivery, catering to the requirements of network-constrained users, distribution networks, and significant power consumers alike.

Unlike traditional batteries, GraviStore boasts a prolonged operational lifespan spanning decades without compromising performance, making it a cost-effective and sustainable solution for energy storage needs.

This collaboration holds immense promise for ABB’s mining clientele, extending beyond traditional shaft decommissioning processes. By repurposing disused mine shafts for energy storage, mining companies can mitigate decommissioning costs while simultaneously contributing to the transition to green energy. Furthermore, this innovative approach opens avenues for job creation and fosters sustainability in the mining sector.

This collaboration plays a key role in meeting the escalating demand for energy storage solutions in an era dominated by intermittent renewable energy sources.

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… 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.

Martin Wright, Gravitricity’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman

Turning Mines Into Gravity Energy Storage Systems

The versatility of Gravitricity’s technology holds promise for a wide range of commercial applications. For industries reliant on uninterrupted power supply, such as data centers and manufacturing facilities, the ability to store surplus energy during off-peak periods and rapidly deploy it during peak demand times can translate into substantial cost savings and enhanced operational efficiency.

Moreover, the adaptability of Gravitricity’s system renders it well-suited for integration with renewable energy sources like wind and solar. By providing a reliable means of storing excess renewable energy generated during periods of high availability, Gravitricity’s solution addresses the intermittency challenge inherent in renewables, thereby facilitating their seamless integration into the grid and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Furthermore, the deployment of Gravitricity’s technology in remote or off-grid locations offers unparalleled opportunities for decentralization and energy independence. From remote mining operations to isolated communities, the ability to store and utilize energy locally can mitigate logistical challenges associated with long-distance energy transmission and enhance resilience in the face of disruptions or disasters.

Beyond its immediate commercial applications, Gravitricity’s breakthrough holds promise for advancing the transition towards a more sustainable energy landscape. By enabling greater flexibility and reliability in energy storage, this technology can facilitate the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

A Partnership for the Future: ABB and Gravitricity

This new partnership leverages ABB’s extensive expertise in mine hoists, with a legacy spanning over a century, and Gravitricity’s pioneering advancements in gravity energy storage.

As industries transition towards sustainable energy practices, the partnership between ABB and Gravitricity represents a paradigm shift in energy storage technology. By repurposing abandoned mine shafts as energy storage facilities, this collaboration not only addresses the pressing need for efficient energy storage solutions but also fosters environmental stewardship and economic revitalization in mining communities.

In conclusion, ABB and Gravitricity’s collaboration signifies a significant leap forward in the realm of energy storage, offering a compelling solution to the challenges posed by renewable energy intermittency.

Through the integration of gravity energy storage technology with end-of-life mine shafts and advanced hoist systems, this partnership heralds a new era of sustainable energy storage solutions, poised to reshape the landscape of the energy industry for generations to come.

References and Further Reading

Vigliarolo, B. (2024) Europe’s deepest mine to become Europe’s deepest battery, The Register® - Biting the hand that feeds IT. Available at: https://www.theregister.com/2024/02/08/europe_deepest_mine_battery/ (Accessed: 09 February 2024).

News (2024) Gravitricity. Available at: https://gravitricity.com/making-news/ (Accessed: 09 February 2024).

ABB and gravitricity to collaborate on energy storage systems using end-of-life mine shafts and Hoist Technology (2023) News. Available at: https://new.abb.com/news/detail/110534/abb-and-gravitricity-to-collaborate-on-energy-storage-systems-using-end-of-life-mine-shafts-and-hoist-technology (Accessed: 09 February 2024).

 

Bethan Davies

Written by

Bethan Davies

Bethan has just graduated from the University of Liverpool with a First Class Honors in English Literature and Chinese Studies. Throughout her studies, Bethan worked as a Chinese Translator and Proofreader. Having spent five years living in China, Bethan has a profound interest in photography, travel and learning about different cultures. She also enjoys taking her dog on adventures around the Peak District. Bethan aims to travel more of the world, taking her camera with her.

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