Did you know that more than 90% of today’s energy storage technology is based on a 140+ year-old concept?  Care to guess what that is?  Hint – has to do with moving water, waiting, then moving water again. 

Humans have been harnessing the energy of river currents for centuries, using water wheels spun by rivers initially to process grains and cloth. Today, hydropower provides about 16 percent of the world’s electricity, generating power in all but two U.S. states. 

Contrary to popular belief, however, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate, displacing millions of inhabitants and in some cases generating more GHGs than their fossil counterparts!

With this in mind the genius idea of Energy Vault was born. If you missed our episode with their CEO, Robert Piconi, last month, then you truly missed out on a conversation worth revisiting.  If you don’t have the time, however, for a 60+min treasure trove, then today you can check out a 10 min Tactical Tuesday vignette of that convo specifically focused on how Energy Vault’s team have created a gravity-based storage solution that mimics hydro power without all the water and ecological concerns.

Let’s face it, our growing reliance on renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, with inherent intermittency challenges, prevents us from achieving a 100% carbon neutral power grid. Some of the front runners in the current energy storage race are lithium ion batteries and pumped hydro, both of which pose challenges like high cost and a negative environmental impact. Energy Vault’s solution uses gravity (and software, of course) in a novel form factor that is efficient, scalable, economical, and sustainable.

Listen as Robert explains how their unique system uses eco-composite bricks for long-duration energy storage(LDES).  He points out the energy storage market is not where it should be, and how their gravity batteries and strategic partnerships are enabling an increasingly renewable-powered grid. Want to know how they are able to be deployed without subsidies? Tune in.