Everything I need to know about flywheel energy storage system
Flywheel energy storage system is a unique energy storage system where energy is maintained as rotational energy as the wheel or the rotors are accelerated with extreme celerity to mechanically store energy for future use. This stored energy can then be easily extracted and used with the help of a generator which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. It is quite similar to battery storage system, with the difference being that they store energy in the chemical form which is later converted to electric energy. However, while extraction, the speed of the energy rotors is reduced to conserve the energy which would otherwise be used up in keeping up its speed.
1. Flywheel energy storage system can provide low-cost hybrid transit buses:
The advent of this system has led to various cost-efficient application ideas like this flybus consortium which is a part of UK’s Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Low-Carbon Vehicle Initiative‘. When a vehicle like the bus decelerates, a huge amount of heat energy escapes the system and goes to complete waste. However, this technology aims at eliminating this problem and uses this waste energy as the rotational energy to be stored in the wheels running at a speed of about 60,000 rpm. It thus leads to a 20 percent cut in fuel consumption in buses and also controls CO2 emissions to a great extent. With the flybus, the brand ambassador of future low-energy and eco-friendly vehicles has arrived on the scene.
2. Beacon Power’s new power plant will store energy efficiently in flywheels:
At Stephentown N.Y, a power plant built on the basis of this concept is under construction. This power plant will store its energy in flywheels and later release it for use. This is supposed to be a renewable energy power plant where the reserve of excess energy should be about 2-3 percent as renewable energy resources are not always consistent performers. A massive count of 200 flywheels, each weighing about 2000 pounds with speeds ranging from 8000-16000 rpm. It also facilitates minimum loss of energy stored and releases about 85 of the energy that it stores within the rotating blades of the wheels.
3. The Cooper Union unveils flywheel equipped bicycle:
A brilliant mind at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York is credited with the creation of this flywheel bicycle. The Cooper Union which holds an annual event for showcasing the best inventions and technologies developed by students, witnessed abour 300 projects among which the flywheel bicycle stood out with much of its virtue lying in great technology and eco-friendly ways. The energy wasted when a bicycle brakes, is converted into stored energy by the flywheel system and helps in accelerating the speed of the bike. Creator Maxwell Von Stein won the Nicholas Stefano Prize for this ability to transform well-known technologies into real life applications.
4. Porsche unveils 911 hybrid that ditches heavy batteries for an innovative flywheel
The 24-hour Nurburgring race this May is all set to welcome Porsche’s new 911 GT3 R Hybrid vehicle powered by an electric engine and a 480 hp gas engine. Now the battery based electric vehicle was replaced with the flywheel concept to further add to the fuel-efficiency and eco-consciousness of the vehicle. Yet again the energy wasted while barking is converted into stored energy by flywheel and then released to give a 160 hp boost to the vehicle which lasts for about 6-8 seconds.
- Flywheel technology is completely free from temperature control hassles as it is carried out in vacuum containment. Thus no temperature glitches and side effects affect the technology while it is in use.
- It stores more energy as compared to the chemical batteries and also releases a larger percentage of the stored energy. Also it lighter than the battery system and helps in making any gadget or vehicle free from weight load and thus helps in saving energy and fuel.
- The amount of energy stored can easily be calculated in this system by determining the speed of the flywheel rotors.
- When the flywheel rotors spin too fast off its axis, they can get displaced from the axis and smash the side walls of the containment and pose dangers for the machines and the people around the machine.
- Since it a completely external fitting for any vehicle, it requires multiple bearings and high-maintenance to keep its working efficient.
- Also the danger of the shattering of the rotating wheel due to overload, poses a problem for the usage of flywheel accumulators.
The main aspect of the flywheel technology which makes it a potential energy saving solution for the world is the minimal loss of energy in its system while the wheels rotate and its ability to release about 85-90% of the stored energy for recycled use. It also works faster than the chemical batteries and are much more lightweight in comparison them. So they are the future replacement for batteries in vehicles and machinery and make for the best bet in the market for efficient and green energy storage and use.