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Back-up Power
Flywheel Energy
Storage System

A flywheel, in essence is a mechanical battery simply a mass rotating about an axis.
Flywheels store energy mechanically in the
form of kinetic energy. They take an electrical
input to accelerate the rotor up to speed by
using the built-in motor, and return the
electrical energy by using this same motor as a
They may still prove to serve us as an
important component on tomorrow's vehicles
and future energy needs.

Provide continuous energy when
the energy source is not
Deliver energy at rates beyond
the ability of an energy source.
Control the orientation of a
mechanical system.

Flywheel energy storage systems store
kinetic energy (i.e. energy produced by
motion) by constantly spinning a compact
rotor in a low-friction environment.
When short-term back-up power is
required (i.e. when utility power fluctuates
or is lost), the rotor's inertia allows it to
continue spinning and the resulting kinetic
energy is converted to electricity.

Flywheel Technology
Integrates the function of a motor,
flywheel rotor and generator into a
single integrated system.
The motor, which uses electric
current from the utility grid to
provide energy to rotate the
flywheel, spins constantly to
maintain a ready source of kinetic

The generator then converts the kinetic

energy of the flywheel into electricity. This

integration of functionality reduces the cost
and increases product efficiency.
The flywheel rotor spins in a near frictionless
environment, created by Active Power's
patented magnetic bearing technology.

The efficiency in the chamber is further
enhanced by the creation of a rough vacuum,
which reduces drag on the spinning flywheel.
As power is transferred to the load, the
flywheel's speed decreases. Additional current
is then supplied to the field coil to ensure that
the voltage output remains constant
throughout discharge.
This enables the flywheel system to provide
ride through power during power disturbances.

Flywheel Technology

Stored Energy
Stored energy = sum of kinetic
energy of individual mass elements
that comprise the flywheel
Kinetic Energy = 1/2*I*w2 ,
I = moment of inertia (ability of
an obeject to resist changes in its
rotational velocity)

w = rotational velocity (rpm)

I = k*M*R2 (M=mass;

Inertial constants for

different shapes
Wheel loaded at rim (bike tire); k = 1
solid disk of uniform thickness; k = 1/2
solid sphere; k = 2/5
spherical shell; k = 2/3
thin rectangular rod; k =
In order to optimize the energy to mass
ratio, the flywheel needs to spin at the
maximum possible speed. Because kinetic
energy only increases linearly with Mass but
goes as the square of the rotational speed.

Rapidly rotating objects are subject to
centrifugal forces that can rip them apart.
Centrifugal force for a rotating object goes
as M*R*w2 .
Thus while dense material can store more
energy it is also subject to higher
centrifugal force and thus fails at lower
rotational speeds than low density material.
Therefore the tensile strenghth is more
important than the density of the material.

Flywheel Energy Storage

System (FES)
In addition to energy density, flywheel
energy storage systems (FES) also offer
several important advantages over
chemical energy storage. The rate at
which energy can be exchanged into or
out of the battery is limited only by the
motor-generator design.
Therefore, it is possible to withdraw large
amounts of energy in a far shorter time
than with traditional chemical batteries.

Act as

When used in vehicles, flywheels also act as

gyroscopes, since their angular momentum
is typically of a similar order of magnitude
as the forces acting on the moving vehicle.
This property may be detrimental to the
vehicle's handling characteristics while
turning. On the other hand, this property
could be utilized to keep the car balanced
so as to keep it from rolling over during
sharp turns.

Flywheels store energy very
efficiently (high turn-around
efficiency) and have the potential for
very high specific power compared
with batteries.
Flywheels have very high output
potential and relatively long life.
Flywheels are relatively unaffected
by ambient temperature extremes.

Current flywheels have low specific
energy. There are safety concerns
associated with flywheels due to
their high speed rotor and the
possibility of it breaking loose &
releasing all of it's energy in an
uncontrolled manner.
Flywheels are a less mature
technology than chemical batteries,
and the current cost is too high to

Flywheels are one of the most promising
technologies for replacing conventional lead
acid batteries as energy storage systems for a
variety of applications, including automobiles,
economical rural electrification systems, and
stand-alone, remote power units commonly
used in the telecommunications industry.
Recent advances in the mechanical properties
of composites has rekindled interest in using
the inertia of a spinning wheel to store energy.

Thank you