Last week, Bill Gates mentioned that he’s involved with an energy storage company that was basically “gravel on ski lifts” at the Eco:nomics Conference organized by the Wall Street Journal. (Thank you, Katie Fehrenbacher, for attending.) (See video, minutes 19:15 to 20:10).
Ski lift storage has been one of those topics discussed in the hallways of energy storage conferences for years. Someone was out there, the conversation went, that wanted to use a solar- or wind-powered ski lift apparatus as a pump. It would pump gravel or water up a hill during sunny periods. At night or during peak power emergencies, the gravel or water could be released. The system essentially artificially supplies the elevation that nature left out.
Such a system could even harvest regenerative power on the way down. It’s part of a segment I call macro or terrestrial storage, i.e. large mechanical devices that…
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