In Switzerland a valley, an unusual heavily equipped crane lifts two blocks of 35 tons of concrete up. The bars run smoothly on the blue crane, which hangs on both sides of a 66-foot-wide horizontal arm. There are all three arms, each with its own ropes, wheels, and hooks needed to carry some blocks in the air, making the device look like an insect carrying and stacking bricks and metal threads. Although the tower is 75 feet[75 m]high, it is easily shortened by the forests of the Lepontine Alps in southern Switzerland, which rise out of the valley plain.
Thirty meters. Thirty-five. Forty. Concrete bars are slowly being lifted up by electric motors from the Swiss power grid. For a few seconds they hang in the hot September air, then the steel cables holding the blocks begin to melt and begin to slowly descend to fit the twelve identical blocks beneath the tower. This is a time when deep metal and concrete dances were made. As each block descends, the lifting motors begin to rotate backwards, creating a stream that passes through thick strands that run down the edge of the crane and down to the power grid. In 30 seconds as the blocks go down, each generates about one megawatt of electricity: enough to power about 1,000 homes.
This tower is an example from Switzerland based on Energy Vault, one of the first to discover new ways to use gravity to generate electricity. The tower had 7,000 bricks and was capable of generating enough electricity to build multiple houses in eight hours. Energy conservation in this way can help solve a major problem facing the transition to renewable energy: finding a zero-carbon way to keep electricity burning when the wind is blowing and the sun is not shining. “The biggest challenge we have is to keep the low cost,” said Robert Piconi, CEO and co-founder of Energy Vault.
Without a global energy reduction system, we will not be able to reduce global warming by 2050. Electricity generation and heating increase a quarter of all global production and, since almost every job you can think of requires electricity, cleaning the electrical grids has a major knocking effect. As our electricity becomes greener, so will our homes, factories, and transportation. This will be especially difficult when many areas of our lives have access to electricity — especially heat and transportation, which can be difficult to remove in any other way. Both generators are expected to double their production capacity by 2050 according to International Atomic Energy Agency. But without an easy way to conserve more energy and then release it when we need it, we can never change our dependence on fossil fuels, pollutants, and combustion.
This is where the conservation of gravity comes into play. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Instead of relying on lithium-ion batteries, which decompose over time and require ground metal that should not be mined, Piconi and colleagues argue that gravity can provide a cheap, bulky, and durable store. which we ignore here. But to prove it, they will need to build a complete system for storing electricity, and then reassure companies already going all-in to lithium-ion batteries that the future of storage requires a much heavier fall from the very top.