New energy storage technology could convert hills to renewable energy ‘batteries’

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A new energy storage technology has been launched that could transform hills across the UK into ‘batteries’ by adapting one of the oldest forms of energy generation (hydropower) to store and release electricity from slopes rather than via steep dam walls and mountains.

According to the company behind the High-Density Hydro® storage system, RheEnergise; the technology can be deployed alongside renewable energy assets such as wind turbines, AD plants and solar farms, to store the energy being produced and boost security of supply.

How does the system work?

RheEnergise has developed a fluid, 2½ times denser than water, that can provide 2½ times the power and 2½ times the energy when compared to conventional hydro-power systems.

This specialist fluid is pumped uphill between underground, interconnected storage tanks at times of low energy demand. As energy prices rise, the non-corrosive fluid is released downhill and passes through turbines, generating electricity to supply power to the grid. Projects will range from 5MW to 100MW of power and can work with vertical elevations as low as 100m or less. It means that, unlike conventional pumped hydro energy storage, the system is able to operate beneath small hills rather than mountains.

RheEnergise energy storage schematic
A schematic of RheEnergise’s energy storage system

Opportunity for farmers

Assessments are already underway regarding the deployment of the new technology at underground sites in Scotland’s Central Belt between Dumbarton and Dundee, and the company is keen to partner with farmers and landowners across the UK to deploy the system at suitable sites, storing the renewable energy being produced and offering a long term income stream. 

RheEnergise is part of a consortium of four British companies that are aiming to build Scotland’s next generation of hectare+ scale vertical farms, powered by locally produced renewable energy and using RheEnergise’s new storage technology. These farms would provide locally produced fresh foods to over 60% of the Scottish population, aiding in the Scottish Government’s ambitions to boost the production of homegrown fruit and vegetables. 

Stephen Crosher, Chief Executive of RheEnergise said:

“There is a massive potential for our energy storage technology, in partnership with the farming community, to transform the rural economy. Our ambitions in Scotland are just the start; all parts of the UK could benefit.

“We can offer landowners, especially those who already own wind and solar farms, a long-term income stream and far greater energy security. We also expect to restore natural grasslands or grow trees as our technology remain underground for the duration of each project’s 60-year lifespan.”

The technology’s development is being aided by grant support from the UK and Canadian governments, as well as an ongoing crowdfunding campaign

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