New Stone Age Technology

December 2019

On the front of the rather nondescript square concrete building in Hamburg are the words “Welcome to the new Stone Age.” But the new electro-thermic (ETES) energy storage facility, which is being tested by Siemens Gamesa, is very much about the future, not the past.

The building, which is roughly the size of a school gymnasium, is capable of preserving 130 MWh for up to a week. The building is filled with around 1000 tons of small volcanic rock from Norway that can be heated to 750 degrees Celsius by wind-generated power. That’s sufficient to provide 1500 households with electricity for a day – at a projected cost of 20 cents per kilowatt hour.

“By making our ETES pilot facility operational, we are presenting an elementary building block for the further expansion of renewable energies and the success of Germany transition to non-nuclear, sustainable power sources,” says Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy CEO Markus Tacke.

© Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy / Ulrich Wirrwa