Waterless hydro tech can turn hills into giant batteries

Thousands of hills across Britain could be transformed into renewable energy batteries thanks to a new ‘high-density’ hydropower system buried underground.

Developed by UK startup RheEnergise, the system puts a modern spin on pumped storage hydro, a centuries-old technology which accounts for 95% of today’s energy storage capacity. Pumped storage hydro uses surplus electricity to pump water into an uphill reservoir, later releasing it back downhill over a set of turbines and into the original lake, generating electricity on demand.

Except RheEnergise’s hydro system doesn’t use water at all, but a proprietary high-density fluid. Named R-19 it is 2.5 times denser than water. While the company is all hush-hush about the chemistry behind the gloop, it is said to be made from “ultra-cheap” materials and is non-toxic to the environment.