The Subspace Energy Hub at the Hagerbach Test Gallery in Switzerland is an ambitious new project which aims to help the world transition to renewable power sources by developing new energy storage technologies.
“This will be a model ecosystem of sustainable energy storage and delivery, above and below ground, and how it supports green energy use in future cities,” said Michael Kompatscher, general manager at Hagerbach Test Gallery.
Partnering with Hagerbach are a diverse group of companies from the tunnelling, battery technology, mining and green energy sectors: Xerotech, Amberg Group, Alumina Battery Systems, Fortescue Future Industries and Motics. The project has two aims: to accelerate battery technologies for underground tunnelling and mining equipment and to look at how new energy storage technologies can help communities transition to renewable energy.
For fast-growing Irish company Xerotech, this is a chance to develop its modular battery system for off-road vehicles. “This facility provides a platform to continue pushing the boundaries of our next generation battery technology as we continue to break the limitations of what is possible in terms of non-road mobile machinery electrification,” said Barry Flannery, CEO and founder of Xerotech. (You can read more about Xerotech in our Dec 2020/Jan 2021 issue here.)
The bigger-picture goal for the Subspace Energy Hub is finding a way to store renewable energy, such as solar, wind power, geothermal and biogas, so that the peaks and troughs of energy generation can be smoothed out. “There will be more and more renewable energy being generated and we need to be able to store it for off-peak times. The questions is: how do we do that,” said Ross Dimmock, head of tunnelling at Normet. Technologies under trial could include compressed air, creating hydrogen from water or pumped storage.
Initially the plan will be to power the Hagerbach facilities underground, from renewable energy sources that could be located above and below ground. Once that has been achieved, the next step could be to power a nearby community too. “With energy storage, the longer-term ambition would be to power the local village so that communities can come to Hagerbach and see a working system,” said Dimmock.
The Sub Space Energy Hub is looking for other industry partners to join them. More information at subspace-energy.org