Words by Smiley Team
Switzerland has built the world’s largest water battery to help store surplus energy.
A water battery is a large energy storage device – also known as a pumped-storage power plant – which stores energy through water. It consists of two large pools stationed at differing altitudes, and water is moved between the two to store or generate electricity as needed.
When there's surplus energy, water is pumped from the lower pool up into the higher pool, where it's stored.
And then, when energy is needed, the water is released from the higher pool back into the lower one. On its way down, the water spins turbines, generating hydroelectric power and creating electricity that can be used to power anything, including our homes.
This particular battery in Switzerland is located 2,000 feet underground between the Emosson and Vieux Emosson dams in Valais, in the Swiss Alps.
Incredibly, it can store up to 400,000 times as much electricity as an electric car battery, and enough to power around 900,000 homes.
The battery, which was turned on on 1 July 2022, was under construction for 14 years and cost €2 million. Part of the reason the project took so long to complete was that workers had to tunnel through 11 miles of the Swiss Alps.
This kind of energy project is brilliant because it is sustainable and completely self-sufficient – meaning any energy you put into it, you can get back later.
Hopefully, this is just the beginning, and other similar sustainable energy projects begin to catch on around the world!
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