The world is facing a big dam problem

As the world’s energy storage demands rise, this startup is turning hills into batteries.

February 10, 2021

For 100+ years, hydroelectric dams have generated power on demand. But with energy needs rising, we’re running out of places to put them.

Enter RheEnergise, a London-based startup…

… that’s turning hills into batteries

Their “High Density Hydro” systems are similar to typical hydroelectric plants — using surplus power to pump liquid uphill to a holding area, then releasing it to create power when needed — but offer several key advantages:

  • They’re smaller, cheaper, and quicker to build with just 1/5th the construction time of a typical hydro-plant.
  • They can be built underground, freeing up land for solar farms or wind farms, or environmental restoration projects.
  • Their systems are closed loop, so they don’t even require an existing waterway.

The secret is their proprietary HD R-19 fluid, which is 2.5x as dense as water, allowing them to generate the same power with a much smaller system.

The Earth needs ~100x its current energy storage capacity by 2040

But room for hydroelectric dams is running out.

“Most potential sites have been used up,” RheEnergise claims, “and most people consider pumped hydro a dead end.” But they’ve found ~10k sites in the UK alone for their HD Hydro systems — 80k across Europe, and 160k+ in Africa.

RheEnergise has received ~£550k in grants from the UK government

It has also raised ~£660k in crowdfunding and hopes to be operational by 2023.

Given the environmental drawbacks of large hydropower, that’s the best dam news we’ve heard all week.

The high-density dam (on the right) takes up much less real estate (Source: RheEnergise)

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