I had this same idea and people thought I was a quack! But you can make solar barges to carry small mountains of heavy materials out to sea and drop them into deep Aleutian trenches which are 35,000 feet deep and harvest a huge amount of power from that then return on those solar barges to harvest more mountain and repeat ad infinitum. Of course in a few thousand years this might raise sea levels !!
Anne Ominous
This seems very much overly complex, when a similar system that simply drags heavy cars on rails uphill is much simpler and easy to construct, and therefore probably much cheaper to build and operate.
And certain variations on pumped hydro storage are even simpler, and offer more promise.
Excellent use of physics. you could do the similar thing with a house, you generate spare electricity you house would rise and as it is used it lowers. A vertical movement of only 0.3m 1ft would be sufficient to provide a back up as a typical UK house weighs around 60 Tonnes.
I asked a physics teacher friend 15 years ago if a radio could be powered by having it descend like a weight of a clock. Not enough power she said. Now they are manufactured for the Third World, with a heavy weight instead of just the radio.
Living now on a canal boat. Going through locks I think of all that energy going from a higher level to a lower. A British narrow canal might hold a volume of more than 2X3X20 metres, i.e., around 120 cubic metres, around 120 tons. A turbine in the outflow?
I'm afraid I can't understand this. As far as I can recall it would take as much energy raising the blocks as can be collected from their release, even at 100% efficiency. Unless renewable energy sources are used to raise the concrete, in which case it's more like a storage unit than a power generation device
Altronix: Yes,this thing is meant to store excess power from renewable resources. The main stumbling block with renewables is there is no economical way to store excess power.
VincentWolf: This is not the first gravity storage scheme I have heard about. There was a plan to dig a deep hole,and store power in a massive weight ,and return it by lowering the weight to the bottom of the hole.I bet this new proposal would be cheaper to construct than digging a hole 1/2 a mile deep.
Anne Ominous: The problem is not every location has hills to store power in heavy cars pulled uphill.
SimonClarke: I think you might be surprised how high you would need to raise a 60 tonne house to store a single days worth of electrical use.
Lets assume 4500 kwh/year which on average is about 12 kwh per day.
If you raise a 60 tonne (60000 kg) house 0.3 metres the "stored energy" is equal to E=mass*gravity*height = 60000 kg*9.81 m/s2*0.3 m = 176 kilojoules = 0.049 kwh. So to get 12 kwh we need 245 times more height or we need to raise the house 73 metres (ignoring all efficiency losses).
And this is why raised mass storage doesn't work. You need a lot of mass or a lot of height and typically this only works when you can pump a lot of water between very large reservoirs. Not to mention a giant tower of concrete blocks would be ugly and no one would allow the tower to be built anywhere close to them.
Doesn't India have a lot of earthquakes? Having concrete blocks up in the air isn't a bit unstable?
Mphase, 12kwh per day is the equivalent of 500w continuously for 24h. This seems excessive to me for the average house. As for nobody would allow construction near them, the tower would most likely be placed near the power generation, i.e. windmill farm.(as illustrated).
Let's imagine maintaining a single water cooled pump with its turbine drive for water weight gravity storage contained in enclosed pipes and tanks compared to all those cranes, booms, rotating bearings, cables, motors, block & tackle, etc with all its added material strength against wind & earthquake damage to store gravity energy.