Enabling Energy Solutions
Operators of power grids need to maintain electric frequency very close to 60 hertz (Hz), or cycles per second (50 Hz in Europe and elsewhere). When the supply of electricity exactly matches the load, the grid is considered stable.
Maintaining this stability comes at a cost of around one percent of total generation capacity to increase or decrease power output in response to frequency deviations and in doing so, creates greater wear and tear on equipment and greater quantities of carbon dioxide and other emissions. Flywheel-based energy storage technology perform fast-response frequency regulation to help mitigate some of these .
Flywheels are an alternative or a complement to deep cycle batteries or molten salt for storing energy that can be transformed into electricity. Flywheel energy storage works by accelerating a rotor (flywheel) to incredibly high speeds and maintaining the energy in the system as rotational energy, which is converted back by slowing down the flywheel.
Speeds in excess of 100 000 rpm can be reached by using a vacuum chamber to reduce the friction component of the air drag. The purpose to use these extreme speeds are that the energy content possible to store will increase while dimension and weight can be kept down to a minimum - necessary for instance in mobile applications such as KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) developed for cars.
Until now heat, lubrication and lifetime issues have been a major obstacle to solve. Liftetime issues of as low as a few hundred hours and expensive ceramic bearings have been used. With Magnetal passive or hybrid magnetic bearings all of this can be solved since our bearings don't have any contact friction and they do not require any lubrication or generate any significant heat component. Furthermore Magnetal bearing solutions have a lifetime expectancy of hundreds of thousands of hours and thus reduces risk and increases uptime for the application.
"With Magnetal passive or hybrid magnetic bearings all of this can be solved since our bearings don't have any contact friction and they do not require any lubrication or generate any significant heat component. Furthermore Magnetal bearing solutions have a lifetime expectancy of hundreds of thousands of hours and thus reduces risk and increases uptime for the application."
Flywheel energy storage may form an important part of ensuring base load energy supply from solar power and wind energy in the future. Kinetic energy can be stored in banks of flywheels while conditions are optimal, to be tapped and converted to electricity during the night, on heavily overcast days or in calm conditions.
Magnetal have studied flywheel technology since the late 1990ies. The area is growing due to increased environmental concerns and the application areas are many.
There are today several actors in the field of preserving energy with flywheel applications:
Beacon Power - Is focused on storing energy for fixed installations
Flybrid Systems - KERS
Compact Dynamics - KERS
Williams - KERS
Clean - Silent - Fast - Reliable -Cost Effective
MAGNETAL AB, 103 96 Stockholm, SWEDEN, Phone: +46 (0)18 418 60 60