Green project

Scots energy pioneer helps decarbonise India

Gravitricity demonstrator
Weighting game: Gravitricity is working on a project in India

A Scottish company is behind a project aiming to identify how gravity energy storage can help decarbonise one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Edinburgh-based energy storage specialist Gravitricity has secured £194,000 from the UK Government to find a demonstration site in India suitable for its energy storage technology.

The company has developed a system which works by raising heavy weights – up to 12,000 tonnes – in a deep shaft and then releasing them when energy is required.

The simple technology does not rely on any rare earth metals, and has a very long lifespan, and could be ideally suited to India, which has raised its 2030 target to instal renewables from 100GW to 500GW..

This rapid increase in variable renewable generation – much of it solar – will bring with it a need for energy storage.

Analysts calculate Gravitricity’s system – which can operate for up to 50 years – can store energy at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries – and there are plans to install the system in decommissioned mineshafts and custom-built shafts in the UK and mainland Europe.

The firm has now partnered with India energy specialists Panitek Power in the 12-month project to identify a shortlist of sites for a demonstration scheme.

Chris Yendell, project development manager at Gravitricity said: “India has very few fossil fuel resources and is committed to adopting renewables to fuel its economic growth.

“Solar power is extremely cheap in such a sunny country, but brings with it a need for energy storage to meet peak morning and evening demand, both of which typically occur during the hours of darkness.

“With the introduction of renewable energy generation at this scale, new flexible storage services will be essential to ensure the grid continues to operate in a stable manner. Gravitricity’s versatile technology is ideally placed to deliver the balancing services required to achieve this stability.

“It is also a relatively simple technology. It doesn’t rely on any rare earth metals, and has a very long lifespan, meaning it can be manufactured and deployed locally alongside vast amounts of new grid infrastructure which will also be required to meet the rapid growth in demand.”

The project is being supported by the Energy Catalyst Round 9 – Early Stage competition. In this scheme Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of the Ayrton Fund to invest up to £20 million in innovation projects which will accelerate the innovations needed to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or Indo-Pacific regions. 

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