Gravitricity is seeking EU funds to build the world's first underground gravity energy storage facility in the Czech Republic. Their technology will help to balance the grid. And Czech Nano Energies are experts in grid balancing and are developing flexibility aggregation services in five European countries. In the memorandum, they have committed to working together to develop the service. Their cooperation started in 2021 when Nano Energies mapped the project's financial potential for Gravitricity.
"The Czech Republic is our home market, and we are also experts in flexibility aggregation. These are two key skills for this project. Gravitricity's technology can quickly and flexibly respond to grid fluctuations in terms of megawatt volume. We could thus involve them in balancing the grid in the way that nowadays primary coal and gas-fired power plants can do," explains Stanislav Chvála, CEO of Nano Energies.
Gravitricity can not only choose the weight of the weights it lowers and lifts but also repeat the process multiple times or, conversely, stop the weights halfway. This depends on how much of an energy surplus or deficit the network has. Nano Energies calculated that the optimal power output of the technology is four megawatts. To illustrate - that's enough volume to power 16,000 homes.
"There are about 14,000 mines around the world that could act as gravity storage. We believe that the launch of our technology in Darkov will also be a success thanks to the collaboration with Nano Energies. We anticipate this will become not only a blueprint, but will accelerate the development of gravity storage and the modernisation of the energy grid across Europe," said Charlie Blair, managing director of Gravitricity.
The need for grid balancing has grown in recent years as the number of renewable energy sources whose output is linked to weather variability has increased. This service is now mainly provided by fossil power plants, with flexibility aggregators such as Nano Energies beginning to get involved in balancing alongside them. These can incorporate smaller sources such as biogas plants, cogeneration units, or technology such as Gravitricity is about to launch in the Czech Republic. The topic is also crucial for businesses, which can recoup some of their energy costs or even make a profit by providing energy flexibility.