South Africa’s mine shafts could become ‘energy reserves’ to tackle shortage

Innovate UK funding of £300K aims to allow start-up Gravitricity to take pressure off grids and ensure a continuous supply of power

The Big Zero report

Energy storage start-up Gravitricity has secured £300,000 in funding to explore South Africa’s mine shafts’ gravity storage capacity.

The grant by Innovate UK’s hopes to release some pressure off the nation’s ‘insufficient’ grids by storing large amounts of energy in gold mine shafts to release on demand – at half the lifetime cost of lithium-ion batteries.

Managing Director at Gavitricity, Charlie Blair, said: “The country has ambitious plans to develop more renewable energy but at the same time there is a lack of supply and robust grid infrastructure to carry power to factories and people’s homes – particularly at peak times. This is leading to local curtailment and blackouts.”

The Scottish firm is currently assessing potential sites for deployment of the energy storage technology. However, all activities have been put on hold amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

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