Innovation That Matters

Renewable energy

New technology harnesses energy from mine shafts


UK-based company can transform disused mines into renewable energy hubs.

Gravitricity has received a GBP 650,000 grant from the British Government agency, Innovate UK, to help rejuvenate old disused mine shafts. By using an ingenious system that uses gravity and enormous weights, Gravitricity plans to transform the mines into hi-tech green energy generation facilities.

The Gravitricity system works in a similar way to a clock weight. A cylindrical weight is suspended in the mine shaft and connected to a winch. This then enables for the systems capability to lift or lower the weight. As the weight moves, it generates electricity. Gravitricity claims that the system can be configured to produce between one and twenty megawatts of peak power. Simultaneously, it can also provide an output duration from fifteen minutes to eight hours.

If the plan succeeds, this can additionally provide areas struggling with the deflation of the coal industry with increased potential. For example, former mining communities could be revitalized with new jobs and financial stability. The funding will be used to design and build a 250 kilowatt concept demonstrator. The company hopes testing for this will start towards the end of 2018. Furthermore, Gravitricity are developing the site and engineering designs to test the full-scale prototype, with the hope for final installation in a UK mineshaft by 2019 or 2020.

“As we come to rely more on renewable energy, there is an increasing need to find new ways to store that energy. We can then produce quick bursts of power exactly when it’s needed,” says Charlie Blair, Gravitricity’s Managing Director.

There have been many significant developments in the world of sustainable energy. This solar plant in Australia uses molten salt to store energy, and a Dutch company has designed a lamp that uses photosynthetic processes to harness power from living plants. How else can businesses network with others in a community to promote renewable energy?



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