UPDATED 1 Sept: The EI library in London is temporarily closed to the public, as a precautionary measure in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The Knowledge Service will still be answering email queries via email , or via live chats during working hours (09:15-17:00 GMT). Our e-library is always open for members here: eLibrary , for full-text access to over 200 e-books and millions of articles. Thank you for your patience.
New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

‘First of its kind’ gravity energy storage system being built in China


The gravity energy storage system under construction Photo: Energy Vault Holdings
Energy Vault Holdings’ gravity energy storage system is based around stacks of huge custom-designed bricks that are lifted by crane to store energy that can be released when needed, replicating the gravity-based approach of large-scale pumped hydro storage systems

Photo: Energy Vault Holdings

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.