Australian technology may help generate power from defunct gold mines in Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka.
Need for such technology:
- A drawback that makes renewable energy unreliable, from solar or wind power, is that there is no power during nights or windless days.
- The idea is to address this challenge by relying on low-tech gravity.
How power will be generated?
- Their plan is to find defunct mines, which often go hundreds or even thousands of metres deep, and haul a ‘weighted block’ up to the top of the mine shaft using renewable power during the day when such power is available.
- This block could be as much as 40 tonnes.
- When backup power is required, the heavy block will fall under gravity, and the ensuing momentum will power a generator via a connected shaft.
- The depth to which the block can slip can be determined via a braking system, thus giving control on the amount of power that can be produced.
- The same principle underlies the ‘pumped hydropower’ storage.
- Using weighted blocks means that decommissioned mines can be put to use.
- The environmental costs and challenges of moving water up can be avoided.
- By using gravity as the fuel consuming critical water, land, and chemicals is dispensed off which other storage technologies rely on.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB