A company developing gravity-based methods of storing energy in disused mine shafts has secured £650,000 from Innovate UK.
Edinburgh-based Gravitricity’s technology uses excess power to lift and suspend a massive weight of up to 2,000 tonnes, using a series of cables and winches.
When energy is needed, the weight can be released in less than a second, producing either a large burst of electricity in an instant or releasing it more slowly if required.
Th company says it can store and generate up to 20MW of electricity and last up to 50 years without any degradation or reduction in performance.
The new funding will enable the company to start building a scale demonstrator later this year and help find a site suitable for a full-scale prototype by 2020.
Once the technology has been proven in old, much cheaper mines, Gravitricity then plans to drill new shafts itself.
Managing Director Charlie Blair said: “As we rely more and more on renewable energy, there is an increasing need to find ways to store that energy – so we can produce quick bursts of power exactly when it is needed.
“It’s a simple case of ‘what goes up, must come down’.”