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Gravitricity and ABB Collaborate on Pioneering Underground Gravity Energy Storage in Finland

by Anna

In a groundbreaking initiative, Scottish startup Gravitricity is teaming up with technology giant ABB to implement an underground energy storage system at the Pyhäsalmi Mine in Finland. This innovative project, called GraviStore, leverages heavy lift equipment and gravity to generate and store electricity, presenting a novel approach to power grid solutions in rural areas.

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The Pyhäsalmi Mine, one of Europe’s oldest and deepest underground mines, is set to become a testbed for Gravitricity’s gravity energy storage system. The technology involves raising and lowering weights inside an unused 1,738-foot-deep auxiliary shaft within the mine, providing a unique method of electricity generation and storage.

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GraviStore is expected to deliver up to 2 MW of capacity and balancing services to the local electric grid, serving the Pyhäjärvi community in central Finland. The system captures and stores energy during periods of low demand, releasing it rapidly when demand spikes. This capability is particularly valuable for sites powered by intermittent renewable sources such as solar panels and wind turbines.

The project is not only a milestone for Gravitricity but also marks the first full-scale demonstration of its innovative technology. The collaboration with ABB, a renowned player in the field of hoist technology and equipment, adds significant expertise to the venture.

Underground gravity energy storage is a burgeoning market, with potential storage capacity estimated between 7 to 70 TWh worldwide. Gravitricity’s approach distinguishes itself by using a suspended winch system to maneuver weights through the mine shaft, offering a versatile and responsive energy storage solution.

GraviStore’s features include the ability to support thousands of tons of mass, a 50-year lifespan with minimal degradation, and lower levelized costs compared to lithium-ion batteries. The system boasts an 80% round-trip efficiency and rapid response times, making it a compelling alternative for grid balancing and frequency regulation.

The collaboration with ABB will play a crucial role in finalizing and installing the GraviStore system. ABB, with its extensive experience in hoist systems, will contribute engineering and development expertise in mechanical, electrical, and control systems for the mine hoists.

As the Pyhäsalmi Mine undergoes decommissioning activities, GraviStore demonstrates how innovative technologies can repurpose aging mines, providing a new lease of life by contributing to sustainable and efficient energy storage solutions. The project aligns with the growing global interest in underground gravity energy storage as a viable option for grid resilience and renewable energy integration.

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