The start-up company is developing a new method of electricity storage that will drastically increase the efficiency of wind or solar power plants
Energy from renewable sources represents an increasing percentage of total electricity production. The main problem is the accumulation of excess electricity that is produced at times of low consumption, such as at night for wind power plants. The actual solution is the use of large capacitors which, like batteries, collect the electricity and then release it during moments of peak demand. The method is not very convenient and has problems related to the construction of the plants, the availability of the necessary materials and the management of large amounts of electricity collected.
The Swiss Energy Vault start-up company is developing an innovative approach that can solve the problem. The idea is to store energy in huge towers built from brick-like modules of 35 tons each. The basic operation is simple and recalls the concept behind the accumulators in hydroelectric power plants. When the plant produces excess electricity, it is used by cranes to “build” the tower, bringing the modules upwards.
At times of high energy demand, cranes on the contrary take the module and drop it to the ground using gravity. During the fall, the cables rotate a buoy that produces energy. The process of assembling and dismantling the tower is managed in detail by dedicated software. The company calculates that each tower could provide enough energy for 2000 families, increasing the efficiency even of existing wind and solar power plants.