There are over 2.6 millions wells in the US and Canada alone that need to be cleaned or plugged.
Many wells leak methane and other environmentally harmful pollutants into air and soil. Although there are standards and laws in place for sealing wells to prevent environmental contamination, enforcement of these regulations has been low and the cost to do so is high, meaning millions of idle or abandoned continue to pollute the environment around them.
Renewell’s patented gravity well system creates an economic incentive for cleaning and sealing wells. When our technology is deployed in an idle oil well, the environmental impact is reduced and the well can live a second life as an revenue-producing gravity well system.
Gravity-based energy storage is a method of harnessing potential energy to “store” energy that can be created and deployed on demand. Our system uses the deep holes left by existing idle oil wells as the energy “storage unit,” relying on our gravity well system to produce energy on-demand and push it to the power grid when needed.
Renewell leverages pre-existing infrastructure (wellbore vertical drop, electrical infrastructure from previous pumpjacks, communications networks, and roads) to create the lowest cost energy storage on the market (capital cost = $5/kWh). We retrofit already grid-connected inactive wells with a proprietary gravity-based mechatronic energy conversion system and an intelligent controls platform for remote monitoring and control.
In times of need, potential energy in our mechanical energy storage system can be captured by lowering a weight down the well, producing clean energy by turning a regenerative winch. The weight can remain near the bottom of the well until it makes economic sense to buy energy to lift the weight back to its starting point, thereby ‘charging’ the system. The Gravity Well system is unique among all other energy storage technologies in that, on average, each system will have a net-negative carbon footprint because idle wells are often leaking methane.
In an ideal world idle wells wouldn’t be plugged and abandoned, they would be plugged and monitored. Not only is a Gravity Well plugged above the depleted reservoir, there is also a suite of sensors on each well ensuring an unprecedented level of insight into the health and status of that well. Renewell’s operations represent no significant risk to the integrity of the casing or plug for the 30 year system lifetime.
Cleaning up the current (more on the way) 2.6 million idle oil and gas wells in North America will require $287B, take +100 years, and leak more than 664 million tons CO2e of methane. At the same time, wind and solar will never achieve majority market share without energy storage capable of both short and long duration. Renewell aims to partner with oil and gas companies to seal and convert over 1.8M wells, creating 132GWh of storage (~5% of the storage needed for a 100% renewable grid) in the process.
Energy storage services will generate revenue for the 30 year lifetime of each Gravity Well system. Renewell pays a portion of this revenue to the well owner as a way to rent the wellbore. Additionally, all onshore oil and gas companies are held accountable by state-based regulatory bodies to ‘plug and abandon’ (P&A) every well after it has become idle. Once the Gravity Well system is recognized as a way to pause the countdown to when an idle well must be plugged and abandoned, Renewell will sell an activation for each well converted. There is also the potential to earn carbon credits for any well that was previously leaking methane.