New battery technology could be a ‘game changer’ for regional Australian communities

(The Guardian, 17 Nov 2022) The CEO of Swiss company Energy Vault says its gravity storage technology can be built anywhere you can build a 20-storey building.

The head of a Swiss energy company which has been contracted to build a solar storage battery in Victoria says its technology will be a “game changer” for rural communities because it can be built anywhere – provided the locals don’t mind having a structure that is as tall as a 20-storey building.

Energy Vault has pioneered a gravity energy storage system that uses surplus energy to raise 35-tonne blocks, made out of recycled materials, to the top of the tall battery structure. Energy is released by lowering those blocks.

It was awarded a contract last month to develop a 250MW/500MWh battery alongside the proposed 350MW Meadow Creek solar farm near Wangaratta in north-east Victoria. It has also struck a deal with Korea Zinc-owned Sun Metals to build a battery to power its Townsville zinc refinery in north Queensland.

The Energy Vault CEO, Robert Piconi, told Guardian Australia the technology works in the same way as pumped hydro, in that it uses gravity to create kinetic energy.

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The Guardian, 17 Nov 2022: New battery technology could be a ‘game changer’ for regional Australian communities