“Underground energy storage using the gravitational potential of solid weights in deep vertical shafts”
with Charlie Blair, Managing Director, Gravitricity
Charlie will talk through Gravitricity’s unique energy storage technology, explaining the technical characteristics that make it such a compelling opportunity and the reasons why a lot more energy storage is needed. Gravitricity was founded by Charlie alongside renewable energy innovators Martin Wright and Peter Fraenkel.
The company has just completed testing on a grid-connected 250kW Concept Demonstrator in Leith Docks; Charlie will discuss the ups and downs of that project as well as the highs and lows of life as a clean technology entrepreneur.’
- Our Speaker
Charlie Blair is Managing Director of Gravitricity Ltd, the Edinburgh-based company developing ground-breaking underground electricity storage technology. The technology has fast response, very long life, and exceptional levelised cost of energy and is uniquely suited to deployment as part of the electricity grid’s infrastructure.
Charlie has worked on numerous emerging energy technologies, including alternative grid flexibility options (demand-side management and EVs) as well as Marine Energy, Biomass and PV. He was head of Marine Energy in the Carbon Trust’s Innovation Team and energy advisor for the Sustainable Development Commission in Scotland.
Charlie has a Geography degree from Durham University and an Energy Systems MSc from Imperial College. He was elected a Fellow of the Energy Institute in 2019.
- The Company
The idea of using gravity to store energy is not new – pumped hydro storage systems can be found around the world. However such systems are reliant on very specific topography and can only be found at significant scale. The idea for Gravitricity’s energy storage system was developed by company founder and Technical Director Peter Fraenkel MBE.
Peter is a chartered mechanical engineer with a background in energy consultancy and technology R&D, and is also a visiting professor at the University of Edinburgh.
He recognised the potential to develop a simple system – based on weights and winches – which could be deployed initially in mines and then wherever required, and in 2011 filed the first patent for Gravitricity technology.
Around 2012 he teamed up with businessman and venture capitalist Martin Wright (with whom he had previously co-founded tidal energy pioneer Marine Current Turbines). Together they secured early grant funding, which enabled them to progress the idea.
Charlie Blair joined the venture as Managing Director in 2016 and shortly thereafter Gravitricity secured £650,000 from Innovate UK to design and build their 250kW concept demonstrator