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Energy storage in gravity

Storing energy in a mass that would be lifted by floating it in water
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My idea is to use solar power to run a water pump. This pump will move water from a reserve tank and pump it into a large cylinder with a bouyant bucket containing heavy rocks.

The bucket would then be connected to a locking mechanism that could be unlatched and let the bucket fall, however if it were connected to gears and an alternator, the fall could be really slow, yet produce a good, equivalent amount of energy.

What do you think? Basically its a battery, but using gravity. Would the weight (to produce enough energy) be too heavy to float? Would the gearing be able to be configured to release the weight slow enough to last a long time? Do alternators even do that?

bmbrian11, May 01 2010

Dinorwig http://www.fhc.co.uk/dinorwig.htm
A well known pumped-storage scheme [Wrongfellow, May 01 2010]

Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station http://en.wikipedia...ctric_Power_Station
The pumped-storage hydroelectric plant's upper reservoir breached. Scouring and flooding ensued. [baconbrain, May 01 2010]

Hydraulic accumulator http://en.wikipedia...draulic_accumulator
They come in many shapes and sizes. [8th of 7, May 01 2010]


       //What do you think//
Welcome, [bmbrian11]
I think that, if you're pumping water up into a tank to store energy, the most reliable & efficient way to recover the energy is to let the water flow downhill through a turbine, eliminating the bucket of rocks. But this may already exist, whereas your idea is probably original.
mouseposture, May 01 2010

       Why not run the pump backwards as a generator when you want the energy?   

       This has the advantage that if you want the power while the sun is shining you can use the solar power directly without the inefficiency of converting it to gravitational potential energy and back.   

       This is of course baked (link).
Wrongfellow, May 01 2010

       The floating mass isn't going to weigh any more than the displaced water that buoys it up, obviously. The use of a heavy weight and gears to drive a generator isn't as common as the use of water pressure to drive a generator, which is to say that the technology isn't going to be cheap or even useful.   

       This is just a water pumped-storage system with rocks in it.   

       Welcome to the HB.
baconbrain, May 01 2010

       This device is called a "hydraulic accumulator" and has been around since the middle of your 19th Century.   

8th of 7, May 01 2010

       Gravity is an implosion of space time making a space time vortex. If you have a fluid to interact with said space time vortex it must flow in the opposite direction for anti gravity and glowing energy fields.
travbm, Oct 29 2015


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