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How Australia’s many old mine shafts could be used to make renewable energy

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How Australia’s many old mine shafts could be used to make renewable energy

What looks like a easy plan — sending a big weight down a deep gap — might assist Australia in direction of internet zero emissions.

Housed in an outdated mine shaft and suspended by a powerful cable, a weight is lowered 500 metres down a protracted drop and in doing so, turns a turbine that creates electrical energy.

It’s the identical know-how that drove grandfather clocks within the 1600s, and it makes use of gravity to create electrical energy in the identical manner as a hydro-electric scheme.

“We’re attempting to do the identical factor, however we do not want the water,” Inexperienced Gravity chief govt Mark Swinnerton informed Lindsay McDougall, on ABC Illawarra Drive.

“We now have practically 100,000 legacy mines in Australia from throughout and now we have all these huge holes within the floor, so somewhat than use water, we use dense objects.”

Inexperienced Gravity chief govt Mark Swinnerton.()

The way it works

In apply, the suspended weight may be lifted throughout the day when renewable photo voltaic power is plentiful, then lowered at night time when energy is required.

Mr Swinnerton mentioned most aged mine shafts have been nonetheless related to the grid, which meant the system might assist ship energy on to communities close to the shaft.

“Solely 3 per cent of our legacy mines have been totally rehabilitated or relinquished,” he mentioned.

“As a rustic, we’re not utilizing it and it is an excellent alternative to reuse infrastructure.”

Inexperienced Gravity is creating its lab in an unused constructing on BlueScope’s land at Port Kembla.()

Unused industrial constructing supplies analysis area

Inexperienced Gravity has partnered with BlueScope to a construct a 12m tall prototype in an unused constructing at Port Kembla in Wollongong on the NSW South Coast.

“Its goal is to … nice tune [the] physics and {the electrical} wave kinds and ensure now we have all the things proper in our management programs,” Mr Swinnerton mentioned.

“This permits us to have nice confidence within the mine web site and persuade the mining operators to say, ‘It is working over right here’, and that is a manner of constructing confidence.”

BlueScope is at the moment working by way of a plan to repurpose and reuse more than 200 hectares of unused land.

“We’re very excited that Inexperienced Gravity selected to determine its Gravity Lab right here on our web site by repurposing one in every of our industrial-sized buildings,” BlueScope head of company affairs Michael Reay mentioned.

“It is an excellent match and a tangible instance of what we try to create — a contemporary, high-tech analysis and improvement precinct that builds upon our strengths in superior manufacturing.”

Mr Swinnerton mentioned the prototype’s outcomes might see the corporate develop into world leaders within the know-how.

“That is additionally a possibility for areas seeing a discount in mining exercise,” he mentioned.

A few of Australia’s deserted mine shafts are 500 metres deep.()

Synthetic intelligence used to construct ‘digital twin’

Inexperienced Gravity can also be constructing a digital duplicate of the Gravity Lab at Port Kembla utilizing synthetic intelligence.

The duplicate shall be fed with information from the bodily lab to assist calculate how the know-how might be shortly scaled up.

“What we have been in a position to do is construct the Gravity Lab bodily and digitally in such a excessive decision world that it’s going to behave the identical manner,” Mr Swinnerton mentioned.

“One of many functions is to calibrate and practice its digital twin so you may see how we are able to discover methods to speed up our know-how.”

The bodily Gravity Lab is predicted to be constructed by the tip of this 12 months.

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