Gravitricity appoints Gneiss Energy to lead £40 million raise to spearhead energy storage projects. Image: Gravitricity.

Energy storage company Gravitricity has appointed Gneiss Energy to support the development of a £40 million funding drive to spearhead the creation of three demonstrator projects for its technology in the next five years.

Gravitricity's energy storage solution works by raising weights in a deep shaft – with disused mine shafts in particular being targeted by the firm – and releasing them when energy is required. Surplus renewable energy generation is expected to be predominantly used to lift the weights, reducing the need for curtailment and allowing that power to be stored for later grid requirements.

The energy storage firm recently announced a new product dubbed FlexiStore that incorporates hydrogen storage capabilities to maximise the output of its technology. With this, a single store would be capable of holding up to 100 tonnes of green hydrogen.

Gravitricity already has established plans to develop a demonstrator project in mainland Europe thanks to support from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The project aims to create a full-scale 4-8MW energy storage project situated at a former mineshaft in the Czech Republic. This follows a 250kW demonstrator project in Edinburgh.

The appointment of Gneiss Energy is a strategic move to introduce extra capital into the projects in order to support development.

“Energy storage technologies will be fundamental to the energy transition, and we are already seeing strong interest in Gravitricity from strategic industrial investors, impact, specialist and hybrid funds,” said Nick Edgar, head of cleantech and Renewables at Gneiss.

“Gravitricity is developing technologies which will last for decades and can cycle rapidly between charge and discharge without any loss in performance, as well as offering long duration capabilities – all characteristics which will become increasingly valuable to grid operators as renewable penetration increases.

“In parallel, their hydrogen FlexiStore taps into the rapidly growing hydrogen market offering a ‘Goldilocks’, mid-scale hydrogen storage solution, with a capacity between large scale salt caverns and much smaller above-ground storage, which is ideally sized for the industrial hydrogen hubs of the future.”

Swiss company Energy Vault revealed it had also created a system that lowers and raises weights to provide energy, although it does so from a tower as opposed to using mineshafts. In early 2022, Energy Vault formed a strategic partnership with non-ferrous metals smelting and refinery company Korea Zinc, which includes a £37 million (US$50 million) investment commitment.