Gravity can solve a major shortcoming of clean energy

at Switzerland In the valley, an unusual dobby crane lifted two 35-ton concrete blocks into the air. These wooden blocks move carefully upward on the blue steel frame of the crane, and they are suspended on either side of a 66-meter-wide horizontal boom. There are three arms in total. Each arm is equipped with cables, winches and grappling hooks. The other pair of blocks needs to be hoisted into the sky to make the device look like a giant metal insect. The bricks are lifted and stacked with steel nets. Although the tower is 75 meters high, it is easily dwarfed by the forest flanks of the Lepontine Alps in southern Switzerland that rise in all directions from the bottom of the valley.

Thirty meters. Thirty-five. forty. The concrete blocks are slowly lifted upwards by a motor powered by the Swiss power grid. They hung in the warm September air for a few seconds, and then the steel cables holding the blocks began to unravel, and they began to slowly descend, joining dozens of similar blocks stacked at the foot of the tower. This is the moment designed for this elaborate dance of steel and concrete. As each block descends, the motor that lifts the block begins to rotate in reverse, and the generated electricity is transmitted through thick cables that extend down from the side of the crane to the grid. Within 30 seconds of the falling of the building blocks, each building block generates about 1 megawatt of electricity: enough to power about 1,000 homes.

This tower is a prototype of Energy Vault from Switzerland, which is one of many start-up companies looking for new ways to use gravity to generate electricity. The full-scale version of the tower may contain 7,000 bricks and provide enough electricity to power thousands of homes for 8 hours. Storing energy in this way can help solve the biggest problem facing the transition to renewable electricity: finding a zero-carbon way to keep lights on when there is no wind and sunlight. “The biggest obstacle we face is access to low-cost storage,” said Robert Piconi, CEO and co-founder of Energy Vault.

If there is no way to decarbonize the world’s electricity supply, we will never achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.Electricity production and heating add up A quarter of the total global emissions And, since almost every activity you can imagine requires electricity, cleaning up the grid can have a huge ripple effect. If our electricity becomes more environmentally friendly, our homes, industries, and transportation systems will also become more environmentally friendly. As more parts of our lives become electrified, this will become more important-especially heating and transportation, which will be difficult to decarbonize in any other way. It is expected that by 2050, all this electrification will double the power generation. International Atomic Energy AgencyHowever, if there is no easy way to store large amounts of energy and then release it when needed, we may never get rid of our dependence on dirty, polluted, and fossil fuel power stations.

This is where gravity energy storage comes in. Proponents of this technology believe that gravity provides an ingenious solution to the energy storage problem. Piconi and his colleagues said that unlike relying on lithium-ion batteries, lithium-ion batteries will degrade over time and require rare earth metals to be dug up from the ground. Piconi and his colleagues say that gravity systems can provide cheap, Sufficient and long-lasting energy storage we are currently overlooking. But to prove this, they need to build a new way of power storage, and then convince an industry that has devoted all its energy to lithium-ion batteries, believing that future storage involves extremely heavy weights falling from heights.

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