June 2, 2023


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Abandoned mines will be converted into gravity batteries? An unusual idea for scientists

How do these work gravity batteries? Simply put, in this system, electricity is generated by releasing a large load (which allows it to fall). It can be used in periods when demand is high. In contrast, in the event of “overcapacity” in the municipal grid, the system uses part of it to draw the previously abandoned load back up, effectively storing energy. One of the most popular models of this type is Pumped storage power plants.

Last year, scientists proposed a solution in which elevators in high-rise buildings use the so-called. Regenerative braking systems To generate electricity while lowering loads from the upper floors to the lower floors. In turn, the loads will be pulled from the elevators by autonomous robots.

Another, more modern solution is the use of abandoned mines and implementation Earth Gravitational Energy Storage System (UGES). This solution uses elevators located in unused mine shafts. Their task will be to raise and lower the containers filled with sand.

Elevators will be running (top to bottom) Thanks Engine/generator units They are located on either side of the column. This would generate electricity as a result of something called regenerative braking. Some of the energy generated in this way will be used to lift the elevators.

Maximum efficiency can be achieved if the elevators take the load from the roof and leave it at the bottom of the shaft, returning “empty” to the roof. However, in this model, the storage area at the bottom of the shaft will eventually be filled with sand. According to scientists, UGES may have a global scale Energy storage capacity from 7 to 70 terawatt-hours (terawatt-hours). Most of these power plants will be in the United States, Russia, India and China. In addition, the researchers estimated Poland’s underground gravitational energy storage potential, which could range from 100 to 1,000 GWh.

As Dr Julian Hunt of IIASA said, “When mines close, thousands of workers are laid off […] UGES will create several vacancies as the mine will provide energy storage services after operations have ceased. The mines already have basic infrastructure and are connected to the electricity grid, which reduces costs significantly And facilitates the construction of UGS power stations. The research was published in a scientific journal energies.

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