November 8, 2023: Energy Vault Holdings is to deploy five additional gravity energy storage systems in China, the company confirmed on November 6.
Energy Vault broke ground for its first such ‘EVx’ project last year in partnership with Atlas Renewable and China Tianying (CNTY).
That first 100MWh EVx, next to a wind farm in Rudong, was commissioned in June and was prepared for connection to the grid in September, the company revealed.
The new projects, also in partnership with Atlas, and CNTY, bring total existing and planned EVx deployments in China to seven — with a combined 3.26GWh capacity, Energy Vault said.
US-based Atlas supports companies in project dealings with Chinese institutions and regulatory authorities while CNTY is a Chinese environmental services firm.
CNTY chairman Yan Shengjun said EVx systems will help China’s clean energy transition by enabling electricity generating by intermittent wind and solar power to be used to reduce fossil fuel-based generation.
Energy Vault uses a block tower system (see photo) to store and release renewable energy from wind and solar operations. It uses surplus renewable energy to store power by constructing the tower with a crane.
When demand rises, the crane unstacks the tower, producing kinetic energy by dropping the blocks so that they can turn generators and create electricity.
The 25-tonne blocks are made from local soil, avoiding carbon intensive concrete, but can also be constructed with various waste materials like coal ash, concrete debris, mining tailings and other waste sludge materials otherwise destined for landfills.
China’s energy policies require renewable energy plants to integrate storage of 20% of their nameplate generation capacity, with a duration of at least 2-4 hours, Energy Vault said.
Most recently, this has been satisfied with lithium ion battery technology to complement the significant installed base of pumped hydroelectric storage in the country.