Flywheel battery

The main idea

The production of high-capacity, compact, environmentally friendly electric energy storage devices based on the flywheel technology. A flywheel comprises a flywheel, which rotates at a very high speed and is connected to an electric apparatus, which can operate either as a motor or as a generator.

The problem description

The problem of accumulation, storage, and uninterrupted power supply is relevant to many applications, ranging from sources of backup power for private and corporate sector to nuclear power, with the need to smooth the demand and decline peaks in consumption of electricity at a different time of day.

Solution to a problem

It is proposed the production of different capacity uninterruptible power supply based on the flywheel technology. Flywheel-based UPSs can be used in the following industries:

• Emergency power supply of nuclear energy station safety systems and other industrial facilities that require reliable backup power supply;
• power supply network load-factoring
• source of electric power for electric cars, water vessels and other vehicles;
• uninterruptible power supply in household and industrial use.

Market volume and its characteristics

VDC Research Group estimates sales of UPSs of 20.1 or more kVA up to $2.8 billion in 2007. In 2012, this market is projected to reach $4.9 billion. By 2012, the size of the market, according to the assumptions of Frost & Sullivan, will total $8.55 billion.

The dynamics of the global UPS market, $bln.
The dynamics of the global UPS market

Business rivals

The American Beacon Power, founded in 1997, created a whole line of heavy stationary flywheels designed for connecting to industrial grids. The design life of the structure is 20 years, the range of operating temperatures – from -40 to +50 degrees Celsius. Declared system resistance to earthquakes – 40 seconds without damage with aftershocks of up to 7.6 on the Richter scale.

Active Power manufactures CleanSource storages, in which flywheels are linked with motor/generator in one unit. Active Power has signed an OEM agreement with GE in December 2005 on the implementation of flywheels to the uninterruptible power supplies manufactured by GE.

POWERTHRU develops, produces and markets advanced integrated flywheel energy storage systems to maintain and stabilize the voltage.
Other manufacturers experimenting with the flywheel technology are Urenco Power Technologies, Siemens, AFS Trinity.

General information on the technology

Energy storage research started relatively recently. The flywheel comprises a flywheel, which rotates at very high speed and has a connection with an electric apparatus, which can operate either as a motor or as a generator. The use of magnetic bearings and the vacuum chamber to reduce the energy loss (loss of no more than 2%). The main problem is the strength of a wheel material, capable of withstanding an extremely high speed.

As to such an indicator as the specific capacity of energy (kWh/kg) flywheels came out on top. At that their operating life is much longer than, for example, that of batteries. Flywheel energy storage devices have a number of significant advantages over chemical batteries: they are more compact and can operate over a wide temperature range, highly reliable and require no maintenance for 15 … 20 years of working lifespan, as well as they have a higher efficiency.

A flywheel can store more energy per unit mass (5-15 MJ/kg or 1.4-4.17kVt*h/kg) than all the known types of energy storages – electrochemical batteries, capacitors, springs… This is due to the fact that a flywheel can be accelerated to an enormous speed besides the “charge” of such storage is very fast.

Anyway, apart from creating several experimental models of flywheel cars, development and testing of flywheels in Russia and Ukraine is almost non-existent, although it promises huge prospects for the government and business.

We received a patent in Ukraine and Russia on the magnetic suspension as an element of design of flywheel storage.

Comparative characteristics of backup power sources of 30 kW/h 

Design

Efficiency

Size, мм

Weight, kg

Price, $US

Working lifespan

Attendance

Diesel generator

30%

 

1520x1030x2250

 

1000

 

7000-8000

3000 hours

 

Every 100 hours

Electrical battery

85%

7250x240x240

700

4500
without charger

2-3 years

Every 4 months

Flywheel

98%

800x800x1500

250

5000-10000

20 years

Every 2-3 years

 

Business model

Current flywheel storage devices that can be found on the market today are focused on large industrial customers, as well as electric power industry players (a battery cost is estimated at $400-500/kW of installed capacity. (Ali Nourai, “Comparison of the Cost of Energy Storage Technologies for T&D Applications”, Based on EPRI-DOE Handbook of Energy Storage for T&D Applications, 2004, www.electricitystorage.org.)

The proposed idea is to organize the production of low-cost UPSs of small and medium size, oriented on broad market, private sector and the telecom market. The flywheel proposed in this project refers to a small class (with a flywheel weight of 40-80 kg accumulated energy is about 20-32 kW/hour). Mass storage is about 250 kg, approximate dimensions – 0.8 m (diameter) x 1.5 m (H). Response time is a fraction of a second with realizable power of 3 kilowatts.

Its potential customers can also be producers of alternative energy systems (wind turbines, solar panels), enterprises in need of uninterrupted power supply (mines, elevators, hospitals, etc.). You can still use the difference between night and peak electricity tariff: consumers who use a lot of energy (as heat pumps for heating, for example) could use the difference of night and peak electricity tariff by storing energy at night and spending it by day.
The elements of our construction are planned to place in factories in China, and the final assembling is to be made in Ukraine.

World UPS Market expected to hit $10 billion by 2015

After experiencing severe declines following the global recession in 2009, the UPS market turned around in 2010 with revenues 8.3% higher than in 2009. IMS Research’s recently published report “The World Market for Uninterruptible Power Supplies – 2011” shows that recovery continues, following the severe cutbacks in IT expenditures and new project builds.

Much of 2010’s growth was driven by the developing BRIC countries of China and India, and to some degree, Brazil; all experienced marked revenue surges. Latin America was the only region to surpass pre-recessionary levels, and Asia is expected to do the same in 2011, as Asia’s revenues fell much harder than Latin America’s in 2009. Since China and India experienced such strong growth in 2010, IMS Research projects their revenue growth will taper off, as pent up demand is met and the economies return to more sustainable growth. Still, Asia’s and Latin America’s UPS markets are forecast to grow faster than the world’s five-year annual average of 7.4%, and to play a major part in reaching the $10 billion dollar mark by 2015.

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