Gravitricity has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with DIAMO to seek EU funds to transform the former Darkov deep mine in the Czech Republic into a massive energy store.
The pair hope the partnership to create a 4MW energy store could be a pathfinder for projects Europe-wide.
DIAMO is the Czech state enterprise charged with mitigating the consequences of uranium ore and coal mining in the republic.
Gravitricity also signed a memorandum with VSB Technical University of Ostrava, whose specialist mining expertise will support the implementation of Gravitricity’s technology into the existing mine.
The Darkov mine is located in the coal-rich Moravian-Silesian region of the Czech Republic, near the city of Karviná.
Construction started in 1972, to access thick seams of coal more than 700 metres below the surface, and at its peak it employed around 4000 people.
Gravitricity plans to store energy by lowering and raising a single massive weight suspended in the Darkov mine shaft.
The Edinburgh firm has already demonstrated a scale version of their technology in Edinburgh – built in partnership with Dutch winch specialists Huisman – and now plans to build full-scale schemes in the UK and worldwide.
Future multi-weight systems could have a capacity of 25MWh or more, Gravitricity said.
Gravitricity managing director Charlie Blair said: “A low carbon world will require vast amounts of energy storage, and at Gravitricity we have developed a long-life energy storage technology which can delivery super-fast energy and offers some of the best characteristics of lithium batteries and pumped hydro storage.
“We hope our collaboration with DIAMO will allow us to demonstrate this technology at scale and offer a potential future for coal mines that are approaching the end of their original service life.”
Ludvík Kašpar, chief executive of DIAMO said: “Our main task is to provide the liquidation of mines, but at the same time we are looking for new uses for the mine sites according to the needs of the region.
“The Gravitricity project is an opportunity for mines and also for our experts, who can try working on new projects and cooperation with a foreign entity.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, we need to check all aspects and risks related to with operation of the mine.”
At Darkov, DIAMO is also planning to build a photovoltaic power plant and is considering the production of green hydrogen.
The site will also be home to an experimental greenhouse project – called EDEN Silesia – managed by the Silesian University.
Worldwide, Gravitricity estimates there are around 14,000 mines which could be suitable for gravity energy storage.