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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
Work on critical power components has completed and commissioning is underway at a 100 MWh gravity energy storage system (GESS) near Shanghai, China.
Being built next to a wind farm and due to be connected to the local state utility grid later this year, the 25MW/100 MWh GESS is reported by Energy Vault Holdings to be the world’s first commercial, grid scale facility of its type. The project is being built in partnership with Atlas Renewable and China Tianying.
The technology is based around stacks of huge custom-designed bricks and replicates the gravity-based approach of large-scale pumped hydro storage but without the need for water or particular topographies and costing much less, explains the Switzerland-based company. Instead of using water, custom-designed software controls the raising of the massive bricks by crane to store energy, which are then released and lowered under gravity to discharge the energy when needed.
Energy Vault reports that its technology has shown round trip efficiency of over 75% at a smaller facility in Switzerland and that its new enhanced GESS is expected to reach over 80% efficiency. This makes the new GESS ‘a leader in energy storage efficiency versus all other forms of mechanical, thermodynamic processes, compressed air or flow battery systems’, the company claims.
According to Energy Vault CEO Robert Piconi, the company has plans to build further facilities, including a 2 GWh GESS that will serve one of China’s zero carbon industrial parks. In addition, a China Tianying subsidiary has signed a deal for another 100 MWh facility near Beijing, that will service data centres in Hebei province.