African Alternative Technologies is very proud to announce the signing of their exclusive dealership and manufacturing agreement with LaunchPoint Technologies Inc. in the USA for their Gravity Power Modules.
Gravity Power is, we believe, the answer to Africa’s current power supply problems as well as the perfect solution for integrating variable renewable energy sources such as wind and photvoltaics into national and regional grids.
The technology is derived from the best, most flexible and most reliable electrical storage system in the world today, Pumped Hydro Storage. Gravity Power Modules can store large quantities of power for extended periods to use at a later time. Where Gravity Power is different is that it is a closed system placed in a shaft in the ground rather than an open dam on a mountain top.
Because of this innovation, Gravity Power Modules are not subject to as many of the stringent environmental restrictions that conventional pumped storage system are required to meet, neither are they as costly, they can be placed close to where the power is needed and can be built in a much shorter time (~12 months compared to 10 years). Gravity Power has all the advantages and none of the disadvantages of conventional Pumped Hydro Storage.
Pumped storage works by running water downwards through a turbine which then drives a generator to make electricity. At night, or any other time when there is cheap power available but no demand for it, the turbine is reversed and becomes a pump to push the water back up to the top again, ready for the next time it is needed.
Gravity Power Modules work in a similar fashion except that in our case the main shaft is filled with water and a weight is placed in the shaft. When we need to generate electricity we drop the weight. Water is then forced down the main shaft and up to the top of the secondary shaft where it drives the turbine which, in turn, drives the generator.
When we want to recharge the system the turbine becomes a pump and the water is pumped back into the main shaft where the weight is pushed back up to the top to wait for the next time power is needed.
Photovoltaics are dependent on sunshine to produce their power, sunshine is a variable resource but Gravity Power Modules can smooth the flow of power to the grid and even store it for release at the most opportune time.
The wind often blows at night when demand is low, now, with Gravity Power Modules available, this wasted power from wind turbines can be stored and used to help meet the peaks the following day, thereby allowing the expensive gas turbine or diesel fired power stations that are currently used to meet those peaks to be turned off all together.
Gravity Power modules will be available in a range of sizes for use in commercial environments as load-shifters where cheap night time power is stored for use during the day, or as emergency back-up, where we can store days or even weeks of back-up power as compared with the couple of hours available from batteries.
Gravity Power Modules don’t go flat like batteries; they have an expected life time of 30+ years, so a generation of replacement-free power storage is available to keep your cold store, factory, office block, hospital or hotel running even during the longest power cuts.
Another advantage is that Gravity Power Modules need to be placed in deep shafts, the depth depends on the power required, often as deep as 2,000m for utility scale installations. Here in South Africa, we don’t need to dig any more deep holes, we have hundreds of disused mineshafts that are disgorging Acid Mine Drainage in to our environment. Plugging these disused shafts with Gravity Power Modules helps control the AMD problem and makes the shaft safe and productive to boot.