BHP taps the vault

BHP has teamed with Swiss energy storage developer Energy Vault as part of a push to electrify its mining operations.
BHP taps the vault BHP taps the vault BHP taps the vault BHP taps the vault BHP taps the vault

Energy Vault uses crane towers to store solar and wind energy

Energy Vault's advanced gravity energy storage technology uses the fundamentals of pumped hydroelectric energy storage, replacing the water with custom-made composite blocks made from low-cost and locally sourced materials including excavated soil, mine tailings, coal ash and fiberglass from decommissioned wind turbine blades.

The company's gravity-based energy storage technology and the energy storage management and integration platform are designed to help utilities, independent power producers and large industrial energy users.

The platforms are automated with computer control and machine vision software that controls the charging and discharging cycles, to minimise environmental and supply chain risks.

The parties executed a joint memorandum of understanding to deploy and implement the technology in BHP's key operations and explore potential new applications.

Under the scope of the MoU BHP and Energy Vault will also pursue local supply chain collaboration, eco-brick composite manufacturing and joint maintenance and monitoring support centres.

Energy Vault co-founder and CEO Robert Piconi said the company's mission was to accelerate the clean energy transition to make sustainable, decarbonised energy a reality.

"We are excited to deepen our relationship with BHP to support one of the world's largest companies and a global leader in natural resources production to explore applications for our technology in the electrification of their mining operations," he said.

"This MoU demonstrates the strong momentum and demand that we continue to experience for our advanced energy storage technology across multiple industry segments and the most critical energy storage applications."

BHP Ventures head Mark Frayman said broad collaboration and technology development would be fundamental to achieving decarbonisation across the global resources industry.

"We are excited to partner with Energy Vault, following our strategic investment in the company earlier this year," he said.

"Energy Vault's technology has the potential to unlock cleaner energy solutions for our operations and create a competitive edge by helping to accelerate our decarbonisation initiatives."

Frayman said the partnership could also present an opportunity to improve life-cycle sustainability by using eco-bricks made with mine tailings and create opportunities for local suppliers.