A consortium pioneering gravity-based power storage has received Innovate UK funding to develop a 1.2MWh prototype, which it says will be ready for testing next year.
The technology essentially drops a massive weight down a shaft, converting kinetic energy into power.
The idea is to hoist the weight back up when power is cheap, or when there is excess electricity on the system, and release it when required to support the grid.
As traditional sources of inertia (large power stations) become more scarce, National Grid is looking to find new forms.
Energy SRS, the firm behind the ‘GENSSIS’ Project, believes its technology could deliver system inertia and fast frequency response at a lower life-cycle cost than batteries. Meanwhile the company thinks it will deliver a higher energy-to-power ratio than flywheels and a greater efficiency and faster ramp-up rate than compressed air and pumped hydro (see details here).
Others in the consortium include UK Power Reserve, PR Marriott Drilling, Caley Offshore Systems, Bayliss Consulting and The University of Bristol.
Energy SRS chief executive, Brendan McGrath, said the funding “will give the project the cash injection it needs to prove this is a viable technology”.
“The UK is a world leader in the storage market and delivering new and innovative solutions will be key to unlocking its full potential. Intermittent renewables give the grid new challenges and I believe our innovation will give the system a new solution to this problem,” he added, thanking project partners and Innovate UK for bringing the project to its next phase.