GRAVITRICITY has hit a fundraising target four times over after launching just days ago.

The Edinburgh-based energy storage company opened the Crowdcube fundraising round for £100,000 to support its ambitious development plans on Monday and by last night it had topped £425,000.

The news comes after it signed a land rental agreement with Forth Ports to build its first demonstrator project on land within the Port of Leith.

Work will begin on the £1 million project in October with plans to be up and running by late December.

The 16-metre high rig will utilise the port’s extensive electrical network and grid connections and will be used to demonstrate the speed of response of their innovative energy storage system.

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Gravitricity’s tech is based on the physical principle that any object at height stores energy.

The firm plans seek to use surplus electricity from the grid to raise weights up to 12,000 tonnes in underground shafts to be re-released when needed by consumers.

It plans to roll out the technology in disused mine shafts worldwide and earlier received £300,000 from government agency Innovate UK to explore the potential to use gold mine shafts in South Africa as energy stores.

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Purpose-sunk shafts could also allow projects to be sited where they are needed in future.

Charlie Blair, managing director at the Leith firm, said: “We have seen overwhelming support from our existing shareholder base and this brings our total equity raised well over the £1m mark. This is additional to around £1m UK grant funds already received and fully underpins our development plans.

“It gives us a big runway to complete our Leith trials and start work on our first full-scale 4MW scheme in 2021.”

Miles Franklin, Gravitricity lead engineer, said: “This grid-connected demonstrator will use two 25-tonnes weights suspended by steel cables. In our first test we’ll drop the weights together to generate full power and verify our speed of response.”

He also said: “We calculate we can go from zero to full power in less than a second, which can be extremely valuable in the frequency response and back-up power markets.

“We will then run tests with the two single weights, dropping one after the other to verify smooth energy output over a longer period.”