Miscellaneous/Flywheels 01

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Active Power, Inc. ships its new 150kVA CleanSourceR Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) product to CaterpillarR Inc. This new power level 150kVA, compared to the existing 250 through 900kVA, will allow the CleanSource UPS to have a 50% expanded market opportunity. This lower power level is suited for broadcast television stations, healthcare facilities and small manufacturing operations that need to bridge the power gap until a generator starts. (08-02BD77-9)
Flywheel Batteries Come Around Again
After a flair of interest in the 1990s, flywheel energy storage became a laboratory curiosity while batteries fueled new applications, and fuel cells garnered both federal grants and popular interests. Today, the flywheel is making a comeback for consideration because of progress in power electronics and advances in fibers, resins, manufacturing techniques, and manufacturing quality control. High on the list of reasons to use the flywheel include its efficiency of over 95 percent and its almost limitless cycle life. Comparison of its performance to Lead-acid batteries and superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) shows the flywheel to have promising cost competitive capabilities for applications such as transportation, improvement in power quality and of course, Space. NASA estimates that $200 million could be saved if flywheels replaced the first generation of space station batteries.
In the application to hybrid vehicles, the possibility for use of a flywheel is being considered in a bus, which if successful, could be downsized to automobiles. Large applications for railroads and military vehicles are receiving attention, too. While still in the R&D mode, improvements are making the flywheel a more attractive possibility which could take business away from batteries.
IEEE Spectrum
April 2002, pp. 46-51