This crane is not (just) a crane: it is a curious battery with which to store and release energy

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This crane is not (just) a crane: it is a curious battery with which to store and release energy

In the Swiss town of Arbedo-Castione stands a peculiar crane. One that rises 70 meters and has six gigantic arms from which large brick blocks hang. The funny thing is that that crane is not used to build any buildings.

And it’s not used that way because this crane is actually a unique mechanism for storing and releasing energy. Developed by startup Energy Vault, the 35-ton brick rises or falls as needed to store or release energy, and its creators believe that this system can be key for the transition to renewable energy.

Long live gravity and kinetic energy

There are two basic operating principles of the system: gravity and kinetic energy They are used to store and release energy by raising or lowering those “moving masses” that hang from the arms of the crane and are made of recycled materials.

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The proposal borrows ideas from reversible hydroelectric power plants that are capable of also acting as giant batteries. The difference lies in the use of those big blocks and a system that allows energy to be stored with the elevation gain of the blocks and released when lowering them.

According to its creators, by stacking these large blocks, layers of this unique battery are created, and each new level It has a storage capacity of between 10 and 35 MWh and is then capable of offering an output power of 5 MW.

When it is time to unload the energy, the crane returns the blocks to the lower levels. The kinetic energy of the “falling” blocks it turns the motors that previously lifted those blocks into a generator that distributes power through an inverter to the power grid.

These facilities are also fully automated and withstand extreme climates, and propose a way to store the energy produced by large renewable plants.

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The concept has evolved into so-called “Energy Vault Resiliency Centers”, a kind of big building with 20 floors —the towers could be up to 200 meters tall, according to the startup’s designs— that work on the same principle and would avoid possible conflicts with building regulations in all kinds of countries.

The crane proposal therefore seems to have been left in the background compared to some buildings that can be located next to renewable energy plants. The company has already signed agreements to create several of these “battery buildings” for companies like Saudi Aramco or DG Fuels, and it remains to be seen if the proposal ends up gaining traction.

Via | CNN

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This crane is not (just) a crane: it is a curious battery with which to store and release energy

was originally published in

Xataka

by Xavier Pastor.

In the Swiss town of Arbedo-Castione stands a peculiar crane. One that rises 70 meters and has six gigantic arms…

In the Swiss town of Arbedo-Castione stands a peculiar crane. One that rises 70 meters and has six gigantic arms…

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