Friday, July 13, 2012

Flywheel Energy Storage


The electricity supply system is linked together on the ‘National Grid’. Your wall socket connects you to this. The Grid has to match demand with supply and keep things running at a steady level. Demand is not 100% predictable so we need ‘just in case’ supply to guarantee the lights stay on. But this safety net is a polluting fossil fuel power station.

An American company called Beacon has produced a flywheel which can store excess energy from power stations when there is no demand for it. When the demand increases, the flywheel technology can re-supply the stored electricity for use on the grid. This reduces the need for polluting power plants to provide standby energy.

A flywheel collects energy in the form of kinetic energy. The energy stored is similar to the stored energy that powers a rubber band car. As you twist and tighten the rubber band by pulling the car backward, energy is stored in the rubber band. Once the car is released, the potential energy stored in the rubber band is transferred into usable kinetic energy making the car go forward. The flywheel spins around an axis, the motor-generator rotor, by the use of magnets in a vacuum

A full-scale facility is designed to provide an important revenue-generating service, while at the same time help facilitate increased use of renewable energy sources, reduce air pollution, and make the grid more reliable. Comprising 200 high-speed, high-energy flywheels and associated electronics, a fully equipped plant will be able to provide 20 megawatts of “up and down” regulation – equal to a 40-megawatt swing.

The flywheel storage system can help renewable technologies like wind and solar by storing unused energy until it is needed at a later time. When the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining the storage system can be used to provide power.

Click here to read more details about the flywheel storage technology

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