1 Thing A Week week 69.0

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ARES, or Advanced Rail Energy Storage System, is a California based company that has found a way to take advantage of nature and store energy (renewable) by technically using it and then retrieving it through gravity. I'd seen the video below some time ago but as it was all CGI it looked more theory than reality but it's being put into practice and was covered by the BBC for their Click program.

ARES' technology uses heavy rail cars that are pushed to the top of a grade using excess power from renewable energy plants or when electricity demand is low. Then, when the wind drops, the sun stops shining, or electricity demand rises, the rail cars are released back down the hill, generating electricity through regenerative braking.

It's always fascinating to see solutions for problems you hadn't really thought about. Renewable energy might be infinite, but you're limited by it's immediate availability and current demand. You can't get sunlight at night and the wind isn't always blowing. Being able to store the energy in batteries is a problem Germany saw negative energy prices for the first time.

While not everyone believes in climate change, it's real and we're seeing the effects now. Miami is literally drowning and the world is getting hotter. Many of the things we use daily require batteries and while they are reusable the materials are not going to be infinite. The ARES system may not be perfect but it's both interesting and different. Every little is going to help.

You can watch BBC Click's coverage below.

If you're interested, you can find more videos and information on their website.

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