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Using Flywheels for Energy Storage
Last Updated on:  06/25/2015 06:31 AM

A flywheel is an electromechanical device that couples a motor generator with a rotating mass to store energy for short durations. Conventional flywheels are "charged" and "discharged" via an integral motor/generator. The motor/generator draws power provided by the grid to spin the rotor of the flywheel. During a power outage, voltage sag, or other disturbance the motor/generator provides power. The kinetic energy stored in the rotor is transformed to DC electric energy by the generator, and the energy is delivered at a constant frequency and voltage through an inverter and a control system.

Traditional flywheel rotors are usually constructed of steel and are limited to a spin rate of a few thousand revolutions per minute (RPM). Advanced flywheels constructed from carbon fiber materials and magnetic bearings can spin in vacuum at speeds up to 40,000 to 60,000 RPM. The flywheel provides power during period between the loss of utility supplied power and either the return of utility power or the start of a sufficient back-up power system (i.e., diesel generator). Flywheels provide 1-30 seconds of ride-through time, and back-up generators are typically online within 5-20 seconds.


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Links to Information about Flywheels

ASPES Engineering AG - Graphic comparisons of power, rotor speed, and energy. Bibliography includes English and German titles.
Beacon Power - Makes 2 and 6 kilowatt-hour flywheel (kinetic-electric) energy storage units.
FAQ: Kinetic Energy Storage - ASPES Engineering AG site with technical information and theory on flywheels and design. Photos of failures.
Flywheel energy storage - Wikipedia - article includes equation for kinetic energy
Flywheel Energy Systems, Inc. - Private corporation to "bring flywheel technology to the marketplace" Rotors, testing, and systems.
Flywheel Theory - Basics of flywheel energy storage, with links to many other sites.
Flywheels - Technical paper and information on exotic bearings for flywheels.
Flywheels channel at Power Design 365 - articles, product information and vendors
Motor Generator - Brushless DC Motor - on motor types for high speed flywheel energy storage.
PowerCorp - Markets PowerStore flywheel system.
Regenerative Power and Motion: A Low-Loss Flywheel Battery - technology and applications of stationary model.
RPM's Flywheel Battery - Flywheel battery described as having near-zero storage (idling) loss, unlimited service life with no maintenance, ultra-high power conversion efficiency.
Tribology Systems, Inc. - Solid-lubricated bearing technology. Operational speeds can range up to 500,000 RPM, with temperatures up to 1000 F. Links to flywheel battery information.
Pentadyne Selected as ``Most Promising Company'' - at Energy Venture Fair V. Flywheel maker lauded. (November 22, 2004)
Liebert FS Advanced Flywheel Energy Storage System - Emerson Network Power announcement of new product. (October 13, 2004)

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