Why a Lifter?
A Lifter, as a gravitational energy storage machine, serves a unique place in the field of heavy lifting machines. It is unlikely that a Lifter would be used for any other purpose than what has been described previously. Few simple machines can compare to the Lifters ability to make use of the shape of the object being lifted. This limits the Lifters application, but it makes it ideal for lifting a large rectangular object. Using tilt assist assemblies on the Lifter and the ground gives the Lifter a tremendous mechanical advantage.
Lifter advantages can be summarized as:
1. Low cost of construction.
2. Reduced maintenance.
3. Virtually unlimited recharges.
4. Environmentally friendly with little impact to nature.
5. Build on any solid ground or sea bed.
6. Easily sized to match desired output needs.
7. Lifter structures are nearly indestructible. Earthquakes? Hurricanes?
8. Operates 24/7 any time of the day.
9. No new technology to develop.
10. Expected lifetime use of a Lifter >100 years.
11. Power to operate approaches power output.
12. Power output easily varied by adjusting height, weight and drop time of the Carriage.
This then leads to where can a Lifter be used? Smaller versions of a Lifter will provide power for use at remote sites or in the home. Medium size Lifters, with or without a Gravity Bank and Carousel will give residential users a quick source of auxiliary power for emergencies or to supplement their existing power requirements. Larger Lifter models are ideal for providing a means to store power produced by wind, solar and tidal sources. A Lifter can be scaled up or down easily to meet each of the above mentioned requirements.
Recently there has been an interest to provide a cheap renewable electrical power source for people in Third World countries. There have been many small solar powered lights, radios, docking stations, etc. developed and marketed to fill this need. It is hard for one in an industrialized nation to understand how important it is to have a source of power even as small as these products require. We just flip a switch and we get all the power we need. In many countries having a product that needs electricity to operate isn't even a consideration since there is no power grid. Providing power for electrical equipment would be of great benefit and fill a real need. A small or medium size Lifter would provide power output anytime it is needed. Moving up to a larger outside model would provide a small house with enough power to run and charge gadgets as well as light multiple rooms. A school, with a Lifter, could be provided with enough power to light the school rooms and charge gadgets the students need for learning. They could take turns tilting the Carriage of a Lifter in the morning and during recess. It would be possible for someone to start their own electric company for a small village. A medium size Lifter with a Gravity Bank and Carousel or a hillside supporting Lifters would allow electricity to be distributed and sold. Power production would be possible 24x7, rain or shine, night or day. Even small factories needing the use of power tools could use a Lifter to provide the electricity required. Again it is hard to imagine for those who have, but for those who need less, this would be a real blessing.
The industrialized world has its own concerns, mainly, what to do with the excess power produced by carbon, solar, wind and water systems. If the power produced exceeds what the power grid needs, then the power produced by these systems are wasted. There are only two choices, turn off production or store it. This is where one finds the largest and most effective use of a Lifter. A wind farm operates on the average within a 20% to 30% production window. Some wind farms approach 50%. Solar power is of course only available when the Sun shines and the usable daily window for power production is, on good days, 5-7 hours. Power production from water also works only when its prime mover, moving water, is available. For all of these energy producing systems, there is a need to store the excess energy they produce for future use so that it can be sold when the price is right or to supplement power production on days when the power needed isn't being produced.
There are several technologies competing to develop the most cost effective method to store energy. Batteries are the most common, followed by pumped hydro and air. Other methods such as thermal exchange, capacitors and flywheel methods are being tested and developed. The most expensive being batteries, followed by flywheels, capacitors and pumped hydro or air. The least expensive pumped hydro and air have the limitation of placement, making it unavailable in more situations than not. Many wind and solar production facilities rely upon grid management to level out power consumption from producing and non-producing or over-producing power sources. This method often means a loss of income to the energy producer.
So, why a Lifter? The Lifter design makes it one of the most efficient and easy to scale machines available for lifting heavy objects to great heights. It can, when coupled with other tilt assist assemblies, equal or exceed the efficiency of any geared hoist, screw lift, pulley system or hydro pump method available. As machines are scaled up to perform larger lifting operations, they experience very degrading efficiency effects. This limits their use for energy storage. An energy storage method must consume as little energy as possible as it works to store energy. A Lifter operates with very little friction and its efficiency remains high as it is scaled up. This ability to scale up makes a Lifter one of the best choices for lifting material for future energy retrieval.