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Making Pumped Hydropower more cost-effective

RheEnergise’s, UK has introduced a High-Density Hydro system that pumps a special, hi-tech fluid uphill between storage tanks at times of low energy demand and cost. As energy prices rise, the fluid is released downhill through turbines, which generate electricity to supply the grid. RheEnergise’s mineral-rich fluid is two and a half times denser than water, which is normally used in pumped hydropower. As a result, it contains two and a half times the energy and can be used on a hill that is two and a half times smaller. This means the RheEnergise system does not need high mountains to work, leading to more potential sites and substantial reductions in construction costs.

RheEnergise recently received a £1 million grant (about €1.1 million) from the UK Government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. It will use this investment to explore whether minerals or waste materials that do not need to be imported can be used in its fluid. The company plans to deploy a demo pilot close to Plymouth by the middle of next year. It is also pursuing other opportunities across the UK and Europe and expects to have its first five-megawatt grid-scale project in operation as early as 2026. RheEnergise has estimated that there are around 6,500 sites in the UK alone that could use the system.

How it works:

At times of low energy demand, with associated low costs, the High-Density Fluid R-19 is pumped to the top storage tanks. Low-cost electricity is often provided by abundant renewable energy, such as wind and solar power.

As energy prices rise the HD Fluid R-19 is released and it passes through the turbines, regenerating electricity to supply power to the grid.

Because we use a high-tech fluid with a density 2.5x that of water RheEnergise projects can operate on low hills rather than high mountains.

Projects are 10MW to 50MW of power. This means that they can be connected to existing grid infrastructure and can be co-located with other renewable energy projects.

The high-tech fluid also means that projects can be 2.5x smaller for the same power.

65% of pumped energy storage project costs are civil engineering construction costs, making projects 2.5x smaller offers a huge savings opportunity.


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