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Architects propose turning skyscrapers into giant batteries


American architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), which designed the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in the UAE, which is the tallest building in the world today, is exploring the possibility of building kilometer-tall skyscrapers together with Swiss Energy Vault Holdings. It is equipped with electrical energy storage platforms in gravity systems.


The idea is to store energy during the lifting of multi-ton blocks to heights of 300 to 1,000 meters and to produce energy during the controlled descent of the blocks to ground level.

When the electrical energy is high, the blocks are fed to the elevators and rise to height. When electricity production drops, the blocks land on the elevators, turning the rotors of the generators and producing electricity. Similar systems are already being tested. According to calculations, approximately 1 megawatt of electricity is produced when the block measuring 3.5×2.7×1.3 meters descends at a speed of 2 meters per second.

In addition to the gravity system, engineers also propose a similar use of water: It could be pumped to the top of a skyscraper and then discharged to power turbines and generate electricity.

At first glance, the advantages of such systems are undeniable, but in practice the process involves solving such issues as the ability of the structure to withstand the additional weight of the gravity system, as well as its efficiency and maintainability.

Fundamental problems include the volume to be occupied by the structure and all its moving parts. If the system turns out to require too much space, it will not be economically feasible to build a skyscraper that stores energy in this way.

Source: Port Altele

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