Energy Vault uses cranes powered by renewables to lift giant bricks into a tower. When the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, lowering the bricks back down creates new energy. It’s one of Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards winners.
In a city roughly an hour south of Milan, Italy, a huge tall tower made of massive, 35-metric-ton bricks will soon rise from the ground. It’s a full-size commercial demonstration of new technology that could be a key part of helping wind and solar power scale up around the world by storing energy differently: Instead of batteries, which are still relatively expensive and can cause environmental challenges, the system uses gravity to store energy as it raises and lowers the bricks.
“Now you can couple PV and low-cost wind with our storage and for the first time replace fossil fuels with renewables 24 hours a day,” says Robert Piconi, cofounder and chief executive officer of Energy Vault, the Switzerland-based startup that designed the new system. The company is the winner of Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards in the Energy category.
View all SMART GRID Bulletins click here