The energy storage specialist Energy Vault, headquartered in Lugano in the canton of Ticino, and Enel Green Power (EGP), a subsidiary of the Italian energy provider Enel, have concluded a partnership agreement. The two partners intend to bring together the energy storage technology developed by Energy Vault on the basis of gravity with wind turbines, whereby the aim is to combine Energy Vault's storage technology with the recycling of materials that are no longer needed in wind turbines. These will be shredded before being processed into the 35-ton blocks that Energy Vault uses in its gravitational system to store or release energy depending on the vertical direction of movement.
In this way, a circular solution “across the entire wind power value chain” is to be developed, according to a press release issued by EGP. “The use of this material gives the blocks greater stability and robustness, increasing their durability and further lowering costs”, explains Irene Fastelli, Head of the Innovation Factory for the areas of O&M and HSEQ at EGP.
“Our technology-enabled solutions were created for this exact purpose – to allow clean energy companies to be 100% sustainable, and to overcome the final hurdle in the journey towards a fully circular economic approach”, comments Robert Piconi, Co-Founder and CEO of Energy Vault, in the press release, adding that: “Thanks to this strategic partnership with Enel, we join forces and accelerate the transition towards renewable energy”.
EGP believes that Energy Vault’s technology offers the exact same advantages as a pumped storage hydro plant, albeit at much lower cost. Moreover, it can be replicated across all geographical contexts and with increased efficiency – in fact, the Energy Vault gravitational storage technology could even exceed an efficiency level of 80 percent.
During the first phase of this project, the technology was analyzed in depth at the first commercial system in Ticino, explains Pasquale Salza, Head of Energy Storage & Hybrid Systems at EGP, in the press release. It was connected to the grid in July 2020. This will be followed by a “feasibility study for the creation of an initial commercial plant with an energy capacity in the order of a few dozen megawatt hours”, Salza adds.