The world is undergoing a rapid energy transformation dominated by growing capacities of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. The intrinsic variable nature of such renewable energy sources calls for affordable energy storage solutions. This paper proposes using lifts and empty apartments in tall buildings to store energy. Lift Energy Storage Technology (LEST) is a gravitational-based storage solution. Energy is stored by lifting wet sand containers or other high-density materials, transported remotely in and out of the lift with autonomous trailer devices. The system requires empty spaces on the top and bottom of the building. An existing lift can be used to transport the containers from the lower apartments to the upper apartments to store energy and from the upper apartments to the lower apartments to generate electricity. The installed storage capacity cost is estimated at 21 to 128 USD/kWh, depending on the height of the building. LEST is particularly interesting for providing decentralized ancillary and energy storage services with daily to weekly energy storage cycles. The global potential for the technology is focused on large cities with high-rise buildings and is estimated to be around 30 to 300 GWh.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Energy