Technically industrialisable, effective, and inexpensive, the storage of electricity through the masses of concrete in the movement-it would be the ideal response to the intermittence of renewable energies ? It is the view of Christopher Stevens, the founder of Sink Float Solutions, which reveals the underside of the oceanic system, which combines barge, a winch, and weights self-floating.
The whole industry knows it : the main problem of renewable sources of energy, such as photovoltaic or wind power, are their variability. Without wind or without sun, the point of production. Therefore, the real challenge of the transition is the question of the storage of the electricity produced in excess when conditions are favourable. An engineer by training and passionate about technology, Christopher Stevens has been focusing on this theme for 2013 : “The storage battery is expensive and I quickly had the intuition that it was possible to imagine a storage less expensive. The basic idea is to exploit the potential energy of masses of concrete, according to a vertical movement“. But where to find an elevation sufficient without building high superstructures or dig deep galleries ? “The average depth of the ocean is 4,000 meters, so the potential is huge“, says the specialist who has founded Sink or Float Solutions.
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He imagines, therefore, a maritime system, installed on a barge equipped with a winch-generator capable of lowering and rise of masses of concrete of several tens of tons. These weights, in part supported by balloons-floats, lead generator at the time where they sink to the abyss, at the speed of 8 km/h. once at the bottom, the masses waiting for the moment when energy will be available on the surface in order to bring them up, thanks to the strength of the winch. The vertical movement of a mass of 30 to 50 tonnes would represent between 1 and 2 MW of electrical power, depending on the speed of vertical translation. Many the masses could be distributed around a single craft in order to ensure the continuity of production and to multiply the storage capacity of this “potential energy of gravity”.
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