Can you imagine a society where skyscrapers can store and generate energy? Well, this may become a reality sooner than you think! Scientists have come up with a brilliant concept to combat our renewable energy storage issues, by turning skyscrapers into enormous gravity-powered batteries! Continue reading to learn more.
Taking Advantage Of The Vertical Height Of Tall Buildings To Power A Battery
A team of scientists from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria, have come up with a new energy storage concept that could turn tall buildings into batteries to enhance the power quality in urban areas!
Their notion is to have autonomous robots transport heavy sandbags into existing elevators when the need for power is low, storing them at the top of the skyrise. When energy usage rises, these weights could then be added back to the elevators and lowered back down, generating additional electricity through a generator.
Lift Energy Storage Technology (LEST), is an ingenious solution as lifts are already in high-rises, meaning there’s no need for additional investment or space occupancy, but rather using what is already there in an alternate way!
The Growing Need For Innovative Energy Storage Technologies
The International Energy Agency, says that renewables are expected to comprise nearly 95% of the increase in global power capacity through 2026, with solar energy alone producing over half. Yet, moving to a low or zero-carbon society requires innovative ways to store energy than traditional systems.
Julian Hunt, a researcher in the IIASA, said “I have always been fascinated with topics involving potential energy, in other words, generating energy with changes in altitude, such as hydropower, pumped-storage, buoyancy, and gravity energy storage… the concept of LEST (Lift Energy Storage Technology) came to me after having spent a considerable amount of time going up and down in a lift since recently moving into an apartment on the 14th floor”. How cool is that?!
Improvements To Be Made To The New System Before Taking Off
Did you know there are currently over 18 million lifts in operation globally, and many of these spend a remarkable amount of time sitting still?! The goal is that when the lifts are not being used to transport people, it can be used to create additional value for the power grid and the building owner.
However, as with any new project, there are still a couple of refinements that need to be made. One of the challenges is finding space to store the weights at the top of the building once fully charged, and at the bottom of the building when the system is released. A solution to this may be using empty apartments or corridors in the building for storage!
What do you think of this new potential system for skyrises? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
We love that this gravity-powered battery could be able to make use of current lifts — using what we already have in an alternate way, this is super resourceful!
For more stories about new renewable-energy innovations being developed around the world, check out our Eco News category and the blogs below.