Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES), a California-based company is utilizing an innovative way of using the gravitational force to help renewable energy companies to store surplus energy. This is a way of solving one of the key concerns associated with green energy – energy storage and lack of effective methods of storing surplus power, making renewable energy utilities better compete with conventional power sources such as coal and gas.
The various other commonly used methods for storing energy, including flywheels, industrial batteries, and hydroelectric facilities, are complicated and expensive. ARES’s solution to this issue is based on the principle of converting surplus power into potential energy and regenerating kinetic energy from it when less energy is produced and demand is high.
When green energy utilities have surplus power, it is shuttled over to the nearest ARES location. The excess energy is used by ARES to power remodeled electric engines, which, in turn, carry extremely hefty railroad cars up a hill. When utilities generate less power than is the demand, the railroad cars are rolled back down. In the process, the force of descent of the enormous railroad cars is used to power generators, thus converting potential energy back to kinetic power.
This is the same technique used in regenerative braking system commonly found in a vast variety of electric and hybrid vehicles. The regenerative braking system transfers the energy from deceleration to the vehicle’s battery, charging the latter in the process. The system also has similarities with a number of hydroelectric solutions that pump water uphill and capture the energy generated from its downhill flow.
ARES contends that this technique is a lot cheaper than other conventional storage methods, costing only about half as the other, and shows very less environmental impact as it uses no fossil fuel to produce power required to run the railroad cars and produces no emissions either.