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Firm takes a new direction in pumped-storage hydro

Gravity Power LLC, a spin-off of LaunchPoint Technologies, is developing a grid-scale electricity storage system, called the Gravity Power Module, which offers a new option in pumped-storage hydropower development, Gravity Power says.

The Santa Barbara-based company's reversible pump turbine and motor generator sits on top of an underground water circuit consisting of two sealed water-filled vertical shafts.

The main bore is positioned on a large piston dubbed the weight stack – the storing unit of the system. The reverse turbine pumps the water down through the return pipe and up the main bore with the stored energy released when power demand exceeds supply.

For a diagram of how the GPM system works, visit www.launchpnt.com/portfolio

A GPM can be quickly installed underground with virtually no adverse environmental impacts, according to developers. The modular, closed system has a very small footprint that can be sited almost anywhere electricity storage is needed, Gravity Power reports.

The key cost drivers are local labor and the ability to sink deep shafts quickly and efficiently. GPM is also reaching outside the US in places like China, India, South Africa and the Middle East.

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