New Questions For Old Hills

Scenic beauty spot or potential hydropower storage facility? The Dovedale national nature reserve in the Peak District. Photograph: dianajarvisphotography.co.uk/Alamy

Thanks to the Guardian for giving us a different view on one possible part of a solution to the problem posed in yesterday’s post:

Powering up: UK hills could be used as energy ‘batteries’

Engineers explore using gentle slopes rather than steep dams or mountains to store electricity

Hundreds of hills across the UK could be transformed into renewable energy “batteries” through a pioneering hydropower system embedded underground.

Guardian graphic. Source: RheEnergise

A team of engineers have developed a system that adapts one of the oldest forms of energy storage, hydropower, to store and release electricity from gentle slopes rather than requiring steep dam walls and mountains.

This could unlock hundreds of potential hydropower sites across the UK, which would be quicker and cheaper to build than traditional hydropower dams and also lead to fewer negative environmental impacts.

The hillside projects would mimic the UK’s traditional hydropower plants by using surplus electricity to pump water uphill, and later releasing the water back down the hill through turbines to generate electricity when needed.

But the “high-intensity” hydro projects use a mineral-rich fluid, which has more than two and a half times the density of water, to create the same amount of electricity from slopes which are less than half as high.

The company behind the plans, RheEnergise, said the project would pump the dense fluid up a hill with a height of 200 metres, at times of low electricity demand. It would be held in an underground storage tank larger than an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Then when extra electricity is required, the fluid would be allowed to flow back down the hill, over generating turbines, to effectively return the electricity used by its pumps earlier in the day back to the grid…

Read the whole article here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s