The Brick Generator

Posted: March 7, 2021 by oldbrew in Critique, Energy
Tags: ,


The Australian Snowy 2 hydro scheme plans to use electricity to pump water up hill to get some of that energy back by running the water downhill again, writes Viv Forbes @ The Saltbush Club.

Some Australian mining companies are planning a dry version of Snowy 2 – a huge brick-powered battery using the force of gravity to drive a generator when solar and wind energy are on strike.

Each unit of this brick-powered battery would comprise a 30 storey tower enclosing a 35 tonne brick which is hauled up using surplus renewable energy (around noon on any clear windy day) and then released to turn generators when there is no renewable energy being produced (every still night or calm cloudy day).

These flint-stone miners will also have to replace all diesel mining equipment with electric machines, then build enough wind/solar generators to not only run the mine, but also to elevate the giant bricks.

The country for miles around will be plastered by solar panels, wind turbines, power lines and roads. They must then build the brick-powered generators. This expensive conglomeration would be lucky to recover 50% of the energy used to create and charge it. Few mines could afford to fund all this nonsense.

Shareholders can expect nothing except dividends of used bricks, but someone will benefit from increased demand for electric mining machines, copper and other metals.

And foreign producers of wind turbines and solar panels will get richer.

Full article here.

See also: David Bidstrup guest post. S**t a 35 tonne brick!!!!!

  1. oldbrew says:

    How the Saltbush Club sees it…

  2. ivan says:

    I think the general idea is to tap into the subsidy market and mine as much money from gullible governments as possible. Renewable energy is nothing more than a con.

  3. JB says:

    Yabba-Dabba do time. Eh, where’s Fred and Barney?

  4. stpaulchuck says:

    Rube Goldberg award contestants

  5. oldbrew says:

    From the David Bidstrup post (see footnote above): ‘Editor’s note. In your face Heath Robinson!’

    Who’s going to make the renewable-powered *sustainable* bricks?

  6. Tim Spence says:

    Regardless, CO2 defies the laws of energy, just let it rip and convert the excess heat into energy. Job done.

  7. Holly Lodger says:

    Well they surely are a load of Bricks.

  8. Kip Hansen says:

    This IS NOT a STUPID idea. It is really quite sensible as an energy storage scheme, and quite similar in effect to pumped hydro storage. Both capture the power of gravity – – as do all hydro dams.

    The Earth’s water cycle raises huge quantities of water high into the atmosphere which them falls as rain. some of that rain on high places (mountains). Allowing that water to run downhill in a confined space (such as a pipe) means that energy can be captured from it — the energy from the effect of gravity. Thus Water Power.

    Letting a heavy thing (brick) fall and capturing the gravity energy is a fine idea. My teen-aged son once designed a water tower to supply running water in remote villages using this principle. The villagers would gather each morning and haul a 55 gallon drum of rocks up to the top of the tower with rope and pulley. The drum would slowly descend, using a clockwork mechanism, and directly operating the well water pump through ropes and shafts, pumping water up all day into the tank on the top of the tower. The tank supplied safe deep-well water to the village in pipes to their homes.

    Both the brick and the pumped hydro schemes depend on economics of energy. The energy cost of raising the brick/water to a height and the efficiency in regaining the energy.

    Selling the idea as a universal solution is probably dumb, but it is the cost-and-return formula that determines that.

  9. pochas94 says:

    Hey, you could use a motor generator instead of a counterweight on skyscraper elevators. Motor the passengers up to the top floor then generate power as they descend. You could power whole cities that way!

  10. Eric Johnson says:

    Apparently the ‘bricks’ are huge. Stack them up how high with zero(?) lateral support to prevent ‘brick’ dislocation during an earthquake?

    It has three sets of arms. Acting in concert, generate three phase power, or is that going beyond pie-in-the-sky? ‘Brick’ in the sky?

    What keeps opposed arms equally weighted at all times?

    What’s its ‘kill zone’ for those huge ‘bricks’ in the event of compression failure of base ‘bricks’? Height = radius plus some fudge factor pulled from any IPCC approved weather model?

    Their brochure is lacking information.

    Similar to charging millions of (non-existent) EV’s with present world wide grid system.

    Maybe we should wait for flying pigs…?

  11. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Not a generator. Battery, much worse than Dinorwig

  12. Gamecock says:

    It’s not about bricks. The message is that renewable energy can be viable. “We’re working on it.”

    Storage cannot fix renewable intermittency. Regardless of how innovative. Tech blurbs like this are to sell the idea that storage can fix intermittency.

  13. Curious George says: is building a demo version of this idea in Scotland. From their website:

    Frances Tierney, Engineering Project Manager. Frances is responsible for the build out of the concept demonstrator project. She previously worked in the wave energy industry, managing complex generation technology deployments in Orkney.

  14. Gamecock says:

    Why use bricks? Why not old, dead batteries?

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