Smart Energy 25 Flywheel
The Smart Energy 25 flywheel is a 4th-generation advanced energy storage solution designed to meet the requirements of demanding utility grid applications. It features a long-life, low-maintenance design, highly cyclic (charge-discharge) capability, and zero fuel consumption or CO2 or other emissions. An array of Smart Energy flywheel units can be configured to form a Smart Energy Matrix plant, which can store and return megawatts of energy to maintain grid reliability and stability.
The Smart Energy 25 flywheel offers many technical and performance advantages, including:
- Highly cyclic capability: Smart Energy 25 flywheels are designed for hundreds of thousands of charge-discharge cycles over their 20-year life, making them ideally suited to the frequency regulation function.
- Smart Grid attributes: Smart Energy 25 flywheels and Smart Energy Matrix plants are interactive systems that can be monitored and operated remotely as part of an intelligent grid design.
- 20-year design life: Smart Energy 25 flywheels are designed and built for 20 years of virtually maintenance-free operation.
- Sustainable technology: Smart Energy 25 flywheels are emissions-free, do not require fuel, and contain no hazardous chemical materials, simplifying permitting and avoiding potential ground contamination issues.
The Smart Energy 25 flywheel system includes a rotating carbon-fiber composite rim, levitated on hybrid magnetic bearings operating in a near-frictionless vacuum-sealed environment. The rim itself is fabricated from a patented combination of high-strength, lightweight fiber composites, including graphite and fiberglass combined with resins, which allow the flywheel to rotate at high speeds (16,000 rpm) and store large amounts of energy as compared to flywheels made from metals. To reach its operational speed, the system draws electricity from the grid to power a permanent magnet motor. As the rim spins faster, it stores energy kinetically. The flywheel can spin for very extended periods with great efficiency because friction and drag are reduced by the use of magnetic bearings in a vacuum-sealed environment. Because it incurs low friction, little power is required to maintain the flywheel's operating speed.
When a grid operator sends a signal that requests the system to absorb power, the Smart Energy Matrix uses power from the grid to drive the motor/generator, which in turn spins up the flywheel. When a signal is sent for electrical power to be provided, the momentum of the spinning flywheel drives a generator and the kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy for release to the grid.