Green Gravity, an Australian energy storage startup, says it will explore opportunities to deploy its gravitational energy storage technology in Europe, after signing an agreement with Romanian state-owned energy producer Complexul Energetic Valea Jiului SA.
Green Gravity and Romanian government-backed energy company Complexul Energetic Valea Jiului SA (CEVJ) have executed a cooperation framework agreement to investigate deployment opportunities for the Australian company’s energy storage technology in 17 coal mine shafts in Romania’s Jiului Valley.
The parties will assess the technical, economic and environmental aspects of converting CEVJ’s existing coal mines into energy storage facilities, using Green Gravity’s energy storage solution, which moves heavy weights vertically in legacy mine shafts to capture and release the gravitational potential energy, providing long-duration storage to the grid.
The two companies will also evaluate the potential benefits and challenges of integrating the energy storage system with the existing power grid and renewable energy sources.
Green Gravity CEO Mark Swinnerton said the agreement underpins the export potential of clean energy technology from Australia and places the company at the forefront of commercialising gravitational energy storage globally.
“Our technology offers a unique solution to store excess renewable energy using gravity, which can help balance the power grid and support the EU’s climate goals,” he said. “Successfully implementing gravitational energy storage in the Valea Jiului will provide a leading example for successful transition of a coal mining region. This project has global implications for climate, jobs and investment.”
Green Gravity’s technology harnesses the fundamental principles of gravity and kinetic energy to generate clean, dispatchable energy. The system relies on lifting and lowering ultra-heavy weights in legacy mine shafts and in doing so, turning a turbine that creates electricity.
Swinnerton said the technology “represents a breakthrough in the search for economic long-duration storage of renewable energy … By re-using mining assets, costs can be kept low. By using gravity as the fuel, we dispense with consuming the critical water, land, and chemicals which other storage technologies rely on.”
Green Gravity – based in Wollongong, New South Wales – has already struck early-stage collaboration deals with the likes of Australian coal producer Yancoal and international engineering heavyweight GHD.
CEVJ Managing Director Eusebiu Durbaca said in a statement that the collaboration with Green Gravity has the potential to transform Romania’s coal sector into a renewable energy storage hub as the country shifts from fossil fuels to renewables.
Romania is aiming to increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, targeting 30.5% renewables by 2030 and committing to phasing out coal by 2032.
“This project is part of our strategy to diversify our energy portfolio and explore new opportunities for value creation from our coal assets,” Durbaca said. “We believe that gravitational energy storage is an innovative approach to energy transition, and we are committed to contributing to Romania’s and Europe’s energy transition and green recovery.”
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