Gravity batteries in abandoned mines could power the whole planet, scientists say

dalpilot

Posts: 18   +19
Just another idea where the Theory may be sound and execution is whole other idea. It's just like promising ideas about Iron based batteries - they are slow to charge (24-48 hours) and discharge at a fairly acceptable rate. Either Sweden or Norway is using water to store renewable energy (haven't seen if this is an affordable technology yet. Also, CO2 scrubbers that pull in normal air to scrub out CO2 doesn't make much sense. If CO2 scrubbers don't work economically at point of origin (I.e. Natural Gas or Coal fired power plants) why would they work in attempting to scrub CO2 from regular air?
 

Nictron

Posts: 7   +1
TechSpot Elite
I like the idea but there is one caveat here. In South Africa we have a lot of power problems and a lot of abandoned mine shafts. However one of the major energy consumers of mines are keeping the shafts drained of water. They have to constantly pump water out to keep them operational. That same problem would exist to keep the mine shaft open to drop the weight down for energy generation.

It is a good way to store excess renewable energy for when you need it at night which could work. A big sunny area like Australia and South Africa desert type areas with a sunken shaft and solar close by could work.

All the best and hope they get a well engineered viable prototype.

All the best,
 

Jack77

Posts: 9   +7
I'm not convinced that human-charged gravity batteries can be made cost effective. If it was that easy they could have done it back in the late 1800's when they started large scale power distribution systems.

The difference is that with solar and wind energy there are moments when you have an abundance of electricity. You can use that surplus of energy to "recharge" the battery. And deplete the battery when there is more demand for energy than other means can provide (e.g. when it's dark or when there is no wind).
 

Axeia

Posts: 62   +67
Energy and Climate Change, Food and Water are not problems we need to deal with

The problem is Humans breeding like Rats

Get rid of the rat problem and suddenly Energy / Climate Change, food and water are no longer problems

It's the final solution!
Okay Thanos.
(Although the obvious solution, not one humanity is willing to implement - although who knows, maybe some AI makes that decision for us at some point)
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,927   +6,918
This sounds far too good to be true. Even if you built these, itd run into the same issue as the idea of covering texas in solar; that being you need to get the electricity everywhere. If it were that simple wed have done it already. This would only work in areas with lots of abandoned mines, and I hate to tell ya but those areas tend to be pretty sparse population wise.
Okay Thanos.
(Although the obvious solution, not one humanity is willing to implement - although who knows, maybe some AI makes that decision for us at some point)
In post industrial countries its already happened. We're all at below replacement rate until you count in immigration.
 

Bluescreendeath

Posts: 331   +505
Yet another globalist shill.
You sit on a chair made in China; type on a keyboard made in China; stare into a monitor/TV made in China or Korea; use a computer with parts like your SSD, motherboard, graphics card, etc from Taiwan, Japan, and Korea; use a computer with parts like your CPUs coming from American companies like Intel or AMD that were probably manufactured in factories based in Malaysia, Vietnam, or Taiwan; likely drive a car made by a USA, Korean, Japanese, or German company; type with an alphabet invented in Europe and a numbering system invented in India; eat foods grown in Canada, Latin America, Asia, USA, Europe, etc; and probably use gas that was imported from Latin America, Canada, or the Middle East.

Globalization is the process of the world becoming more interconnected through the spread of ideas, technology, trade, etc., and globalism is the result of that connection. Globalism is responsible for the USA becoming the dominant superpower of the second half of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century and is responsible for the entire modern world and your modern lifestyle/luxuries.

But "globalism" is the evil boogeyman here. OK...
 
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yannus

Posts: 148   +137
Energy and Climate Change, Food and Water are not problems we need to deal with

The problem is Humans breeding like Rats

Get rid of the rat problem and suddenly Energy / Climate Change, food and water are no longer problems

It's the final solution!
Go ahead, show the example. Of course it's sarcasm, don't do it. What I mean is that what you want to apply to others, you should apply it to you first.
And about the problem, the problem is mostly above not below. Ultra rich people waste exponentially more than average ones or poor ones. And by the way those ultra rich people are getting rid of us anyways.
 
Thanks to the MKS system, it's as simple as it gets. A 1 metric ton block is 1000kg. Lifting it 36 meters stores 36,000g joules ... call it 360 thousand. That's 1/10 of a kilowatt-hour.
A Tesla Model 3 can go 4 miles on 1 kWh, so the potential energy in that block (if 100% extracted) could move that car 0.4 miles or 160 meters, which is only 4.4x farther horizontally than that massive block fell vertically. So it feels like we could make much more efficient cars, if we wanted to. Note the Model 3 Standard Range weighs 1.6 metric tons (!) and the other Tesla models weigh more, so we could also probably make smaller cars, if we wanted to.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,915   +1,994
You sit on a chair made in China; type on a keyboard made in China; stare into a monitor/TV made in China...Globalism is the process of the world becoming more interconnected
You've confused globalism with globalization. Globalism, as the OP used it, is best described by the following definition:

"The idea that economic and foreign policy should be planned in an international way, usually in concert with other nations."

Globalism is responsible for the USA becoming the dominant superpower of the second half of the 20th Century
No, that was due to Europe and Asia bombing itself back to the Stone Age in WWII, while the US focused on its laissez-faire economic roots.

My local electric company seems to be on the ball for attempting to acquire renewable energy...
Of course. They have a captive customer base and a guaranteed profit margin. What do they care what effect that will have on your energy rates?
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,298   +4,283
The problem with batteries is the materials that they require and the fact that they don't last forever. We live on one gigantic battery called Earth and the whole world could run on big hydrothermal plants. Sure, in some places, it's very difficult to implement, but few things worth having are never easy and once it's done, it's done.

All these other "ideas" are just people trying to make money, not people trying to solve the problem.

Here's some content from one of the most respected research universities in the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT:
https://energy.mit.edu/research/future-geothermal-energy/
https://energy.mit.edu/news/these-1...-power-plants-from-fossil-fuel-to-geothermal/

Unlike using batteries, this is a permanent and final solution. Capitalists try to ignore it because they want profit, not solutions.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,915   +1,994
Here's some content from one of the most respected research universities in the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT:
Warning: classic "appeal to authority" fallacy incoming.

Did you even read that 20-year old report you linked? It suggest drilling hundreds of shafts into bedrock, each shaft between four to eight kilometers deep, injecting them with high-pressure fluids, then re-drilling them every six years as the thermal potential is exhausted. That's far more invasive than fracking, and we know how the Left reacts to that. Many of the most promising sites for this lie in Alaska, and state and national park areas in California, Utah, and Texas. If a "greedy capitalist" even suggested such a project, it'd be a race to see which environmental group would assassinate them first. Also, the report concluded that, if we engaged in a major governmental R&D plan, such a system could supply all of 10% of our energy needs within 45 years.

Geothermal energy is used where it's plentiful and cost-effective. Iceland gets the bulk of its energy from it. In most other places, it's a pipe dream-- literally.
 
Thanks to the MKS system, it's as simple as it gets. A 1 metric ton block is 1000kg. Lifting it 36 meters stores 36,000g joules ... call it 360 thousand. That's 1/10 of a kilowatt-hour.

As you can see, gravity storage systems require a lot of mass to store significant amounts of energy.

You're off by a factor of 1000. It's about 10kwh not 0.1

Potential energy = 1000 kg * 9.8 m/s^2 * 36 m
Potential energy = 35,800,000 Joules
So, 1000kg lifted to 36m has a stored energy of 35,800,000 Joules.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,915   +1,994
You're off by a factor of 1000. It's about 10kwh not 0.1
No. The 'K' in the MKS system stands for kilograms, not grams. The force on one kg in a 1 g field is 1 newton. Apply a 1 newton force over 1 meter = 1 joule.

1000 * 9.8 * 36 = 358,000 joules. Not 35.8 million.
 
The UK:

We've hundreds of mine shafts what shall we do with them?

Fill them up with a load of old sh*te, we'll never need them again.


You do realize that most mine shafts extend well below the water table in most places. That's why most mines are wet and they have to be constantly de-watered when mining is active. Once these mines are retired, they fill with water to the local water table.

Also, no mine has a single shaft that goes from ground level to the very bottom level. The deepest mine in the USA is the Homestake mine where there are two shafts that go to the 4850 foot level from the surface. The deepest part of the mine is at the 8000 foot level.

The Homestake mine is in the Rockies at an elevation of 5200 feet so the lowest levels are definitely below the water table even here.

Many of the decomissioned mines in the UK are filled with water, especially the tin/copper mines in Cornwall.
 
Just another idea where the Theory may be sound and execution is whole other idea. It's just like promising ideas about Iron based batteries - they are slow to charge (24-48 hours) and discharge at a fairly acceptable rate. Either Sweden or Norway is using water to store renewable energy (haven't seen if this is an affordable technology yet. Also, CO2 scrubbers that pull in normal air to scrub out CO2 doesn't make much sense. If CO2 scrubbers don't work economically at point of origin (I.e. Natural Gas or Coal fired power plants) why would they work in attempting to scrub CO2 from regular air?
I can remember reading that in the States most pumped hydro gravity energy storage was developed for use with nuclear power plants. This is the opposite of the "wind and solar power is too intermittent "narrative. With nuclear power, it runs most economically at an optimum but steady output. To maintain this output it is necessary to store excess energy and use it later during peak loads.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,915   +1,994
This is the opposite of the "wind and solar power is too intermittent "narrative.
It's the flip side of the same coin. Most people believe a power utility's largest problem is just generating the power itself, when in reality it is matching supply with demand. Demand varies continuously, and generating even fractionally too much power is just as dangerous as generating too little. When your supply also varies randomly as wind and solar do, it's an essentially impossible problem. Nations like Germany which generate 30%+ of their electricity from renewables manage it by coupling their wind and solar farms to supply-controllable natural-gas power plants ... their CO2 emissions from the energy sector have actually *increased* as a result of this.
 
Holy crap this childish mis-information is just bizarre. A little bit of NON-Jr. High school brilliant ***** child imaginarium info: "because there are already likely millions of them across the planet" Likely? Likely?! No not likely at all, you are really just pulling brain damaged guesswork out of your fifth point of contact right from the start. No, just no, there are huge numbers of mileage of old shafting, damn little of it is anything like the near vertical/vertical bore that is needed to store and dispense the kinetic energy under discussion even if rails were re-installed and maintained in steeply sloped shafting, at a huge labor cost for poor energy storage results. "relatively cheaply converted for this purpose" Yeah, nope NOPE NOPE, the cost to rework shafting to store a significant amount of kinetic energy in any civilized country and operate and maintain it and lease it and put in the needed infrastructure for miniscule energy storage in just a few or one shaft with effective safety organizations that will work against you murdering large numbers of disposable mining workers ala Qatar olympic construction mass murders for your idea is quite large, just to convert the very damn few miles of vertical shafting in an abandoned and who knows how badly deteriorated un-maintained hole, and this does not begin to take into account the construction etc. costs of installing and using the generators to convert that kinetic energy to electricity. How deep is your average mine? Less than 3/4 of a mile... how many vertical or near vertice meters of shafting of all sorts from ventilation to whatever? How many steep or vertical; shafts on any one site 4? 8? 2?. Those connected to the power grid abandoned holes? "and are already connected to the power grid." Not really very connected to any grid whatsoever, most dead mines and abandoned shafts are where they are, you have a bare few hundred MAYBE in places like Germany where useful power transmission infrastructure exists and the vast majority in forgotten wastelands far from any major power consuming/handling areas, have you even looked at the research showing why powering the planet with solar power plants in the north African deserts and other wastelands is not feasible? POWER TRANSMISSION IS A HUGE LIMITING FACTOR! Yeah all those abandoned mine shafts... mostly filled with water far beyond any energy storage value capacity to pump out and convert to gravity storage in places like Eastern and Northern North America. ETC. ETC. ETC. Childish dreams and fevered pre-teen speculations on how an imaginary world might work are not very appropriate for presentation in the manner of this fairytale, put this sort of thing out as the early days wildeyed spitballing it is, not as something somehow to be viewed as reasonable or sane or otherwise taken seriously as it currently stands.
 
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mbk34

Posts: 418   +323
It looks a lovely idea but it's easy to see that it doesn't add up. The largest hydro battery stores 25 million cubic meters of water, drops it 300 meters and can provide energy to 900,000 homes. A cubic meter of water weighs a tonne. The weight being dropped in the mine is 30 tones and the average mine depth is 500 meters. You'd need approx 500,000 of these huge weights to provide an equivalent power reserve. So you need one 30 tonne weight for every 2 homes, these weights have to be stored on the surface to hold their maximum potential energy, you also need a mine shaft you can use, you need to ignore the losses caused by moving 30 tonne weights around, plus you need the really cheap energy (preferably free) to power the whole thing.
 

Bluescreendeath

Posts: 331   +505
You've confused globalism with globalization. Globalism, as the OP used it, is best described by the following definition:

"The idea that economic and foreign policy should be planned in an international way, usually in concert with other nations."

Globalism is a part of globalization. Globalization is the world integrating and coming closer together through the exchange of ideas, technology, culture, etc. Globalism is geo-political results, interactions, and interconnections created by globalization. The idea that economy/foreign policy should be planned by taking into consideration the needs/interests of other nations/international community is a part of globalization because countries have become closer together and no country is completely isolated from the world anymore.

For example, no country can just unilaterally heavily subsidize their domestic industries or slap tariffs on foreign imports any more without taking into consideration global or at least regional trade rules - otherwise they risk running afoul of international/regional trade agreements/trade organizations and risk a backlash or trade war. On the military side, the USA can't just unilaterally drag NATO into a war because NATO is a military alliance that takes into consideration the interests of other NATO countries too and NATO has rules on when its military protocols will be activated.

When countries are coming closer together through international trade/diffusion/alliances/etc, they naturally create "global" ways to mediate disputes, give out international loans or aid, and ensure consistent international standards/practices - like the United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Bank, WHO, etc...even military alliances like NATO or CSTO are examples.
 
Another related idea -- why not use a gravity/weight system in wind turbine towers? Understood that the amount of energy you could store in each tower would be limited, but in an entire wind farm with a large number of towers, the storage that could be tapped when the wind isn't blowing could be significant.
 

Bluescreendeath

Posts: 331   +505
No, that was due to Europe and Asia bombing itself back to the Stone Age in WWII, while the US focused on its laissez-faire economic roots.

Also, I forgot to mention that what you said is not mutually exclusive to globalization and globalism. Europe and Asia's bombed their industry back to the stone age, but which country provided the technology and trade exports these countries so desparately needed that helped grow their economy (while also making the exporting country rich)? Which country created new international trade organizations, trade rules, and military alliances to help stablize the world and counter the Communist Bloc post-WW2? USA USA USA.

The USA took advantage of its manufacturing power status at the end of WW2 by getting rich from selling American goods to Europe and Asia (and this included creating new trade alliances and new trade agreements with countries in said regions of the world). The USA not only traded with them, but also helped guide the economies of Japan, S. Korea, and Germany after WW2 with US-led norms and new international rules. In the miltiary sphere, the USA achieved military dominance by creating organizations like NATO, a globalist miltiary alliance to help enforce the new rules of the post WW2 capitalist world and counter the Communist Bloc. That's all globalism that comes with globalization.

As for laissez faire, yes, free market capitalism did play a big role. However, let's not forget the role the other side of the coin also played in the form of taxpayer subsidized industrial & agricultural products that were exported overseas, and government funded innovations or inventions at least partially derived from government grants & subsidies to private companies (eg. the internet, doppler radar, supercomputers, modern planes & jets, microchips, red LED lights, nuclear energy, modern rocket engines, MRI, voice assistance, AI & self driving cars, etc all created from government funded experiments) that also helped ensure American economic dominance in the 20th-21st century.
 
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