Ramping Up Energy Storage: Designing a Sustainable Mechanical Battery

As the world population rises and a global consumer-driven culture intensifies, scientists and leaders alike must streamline energy storage practices with ethical and sustainable solutions. We propose a mechanical ramp battery that stores gravitational potential energy from input work required to push an object up an incline at a constant speed. The battery releases energy that can be measured through output work required to bring the object down an incline at a constant speed. Friction is an inherent part of this battery and is why we prioritized efficiencies, calculating energy storage efficiency to be 0.996, energy release efficiency, 0.960, and overall efficiency, 0.957. With respect to efficiency, this battery compares well to the Lithium-Ion battery and is already being tested by the US Bureau of Land Management in the Advanced Rail Energy Storage experiment (ARES). While we only assess the efficiency of this battery for one specific ramp, it is crucial to evaluate how the angle of the ramp to the horizontal, strength of the materials, and the way energy is being stored and released affects efficiency. Considering these factors, mechanical batteries can bring us one step closer to solving the global energy demand and facilitating other sustainable energy storage practices.

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