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China’s solution to charging electric cars

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China’s solution to charging electric cars

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It is a gigantic building that is being built by the Swiss company Energy Vault

A battery-building that uses gravity: China's solution to charge electric cars
This is the gigantic gravity battery that Energy Vault is building in Rudong, Jiangsu (China)

In China everything becomes (very) big: the longest bridgean impressive wall of trees that compares with its Great Wall, new hypersonic cannons…And now, the last thing we have learned following the trail of motor passionson these huge battery buildings with which the Government of China plans to take advantage of renewable energy better than anyone in the world.

The idea, obviously, is to alleviate the increase in energy consumption derived from electric mobility and the expansion of “battery powered cars” (Xiaomi already has its own), although in reality The technology behind these colossal buildings is rather rudimentary. or, rather, quite classic.

And yes friends, the Swiss company Energy Vaultwhich is based in Lugano, we has officially presented a system of gravity based energy storage which uses huge concrete blocks in order to conserve the surplus electricity generated by a wind farm nearby, to which this kind of battery-building is connected, which, at the other end, is also connected to the Chinese electrical grid.

This is how it works EVx Gravity Storage Global Deployment from Rudong, Jiangsu (China)

Well then. It’s easy to understand so we’ll explain it to you quickly: a wind farm in Rudong (Jiangsu province) is generating clean energy thanks to the wind, although as usually happens, its surpluses to date were lost at times of low load on the electrical network. This is a known problem and is currently happening in practically any renewable energy installation, whether hydroelectric or wind.

So this huge battery-building has been installed between the wind farm and the Chinese electricity grid, with the task of take advantage of excess electricity to lift gigantic concrete blocks to the ceiling weighing about 20 tons. As you will expect, this process is carried out using electric cranes that use that excess energy.

Once hoisted, The blocks store the potential energy that will be returned to the grid when it is needed and not enough is generated, for which you just have to let them fall thus converting the energy into kinetic and then electrical using generators.

The system is very simple, as you will see in this video:

The monster is called EVx Gravity Storage Global Deployment and in this first case it is already in operation after having received the necessary authorizations, with a 25 MW/100 MW capacity and great advantages regarding stationary battery systems. In fact, it is that its degradation and maintenance are minimal when using concrete blocks or water tanks, combined with very durable pulley systems and electric cranes.

Its great (great) drawback will not be a secret, as is obvious, since They need a lot (a lot) of space. This is because to make them profitable you have to lift heavy blocks to great heights, and Many of these blocks are needed to store enough electricity.. With these premises, it is better understood that the premiere of a project of this magnitude has taken place in a country like China, where everything is huge and space is not a problem.

According to the Swiss company the efficiency of these systems exceeds 80%So after testing this first installation in Rudong, it seems that the Beijing Government liked things. Or at least that is what we can see from the fact that they have already ordered three EVx Gravity Storage Global Deployment more in Huailai Cunrui, Zhangye and Ziuquan. The latter will be the largest, doubling the power and capacity of Rudong.

Take a look at the header image to better visualize the size… As you will see, it is even taller than the surrounding wind turbines!

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