Work underway to install gravity-utilising renewable energy system in Edinburgh

Frances Tierney and Steven Kirk

A groundbreaking system which stores renewable energy using gravity is taking shape in Edinburgh.

The £1 million demonstration project – at Forth Port’s Prince Albert Dock – will see heavy weights raised then dropped into a deep shaft to release energy.

The system is the work of Leith based start-up Gravitricity. Their 250kW demonstrator comprises a 15-metre high lattice tower, two 25-tonne weights suspended by steel cables, plus two grid-connected generator units.

Frances Tierney, engineering project manager at Gravitricity, commented, “The tower and top frame were installed in perfect weather conditions last week.

“This week our focus is installing the electrical connection to the winch container, with the goal of being fully commissioned by April.”

During the test phase, the Gravitricity team will begin by lowering  the weights together to generate full power and verify their speed of response.

Frances added, “Our full scale projects will operate underground – but for this scale demonstator we’ve build an above-ground structure.

“We calculate we can go from zero to full power in less than a second – which can be extremely valuable in the frequency response and back-up power markets.

“We’ll then run tests with the two single weights, dropping one after the other to verify smooth energy output over a longer period, alongside a programme of other tests to demonstrate and refine the full capabilities of the system.

“This two-month test programme will confirm our modelling and give us valuable data for our first full-scale 4-8 MW project which will commence later this year.”