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View Diary: Green Light!  Flywheel Energy Storage (228 comments)

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  •  Flywheel is neato (41+ / 0-)

    Almost steampunky.

    If we make great strides into energy storage on a massive scale (like multiple megawatts at a time), the whole case against renewable power and its intermittent nature falls flat on its face.

    Now at Twitter, using the clever alias "droogie6655321" SHH!

    by droogie6655321 on Tue Aug 10, 2010 at 11:07:41 AM PDT

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    •  Something like Edison could have invented (11+ / 0-)

      and probably did, the idea has been around for a century.  Nice to see some progress once in awhile.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

      by MadScientist on Tue Aug 10, 2010 at 12:03:50 PM PDT

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      •  Idea yes...possibility of execution no. (5+ / 0-)

        It's the little things in this report that show just how much technical advances can enable older but excellent ideas. The use of magnetically suspended bearings and vacuum encasing for the flywheels brilliantly solves some of the old drawbacks to flywheel technology, but were solutions unavailable until the last couple of decades at the earliest (because of the scale and other problems, not because such things were unknown.) The carbon fiber structure is an even newer innovation, still being applied in new ways to all kinds of technological problems.

        The whole project shows just how we ought to approach converting the energy grid while not giving the whole thing away to a few giant corporations: send government innovation cash to actually innovative businesses and individuals.

        Conservito delenda est pro is deleo orbis terrarum!

        by Stwriley on Tue Aug 10, 2010 at 04:01:33 PM PDT

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        •  You've got the order backwards there (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aaraujo

          Magnetic bearings of the type used by Beacon (formerly SatCon) are considerably newer than the filament wound carbon fiber in the structure.

          Just fyi.

          Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

          by nsfbr on Tue Aug 10, 2010 at 07:27:29 PM PDT

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          •  Not as an idea. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aaraujo

            You might have noticed that I was referring to the idea of magnetic bearings, not their actuality. I made rather a point of saying that all these ideas preceded any practical application to the problem of flywheels.

            So no, your point is wrong. The idea of non-permanent magnetically suspended bearings (i.e., essentially the same type of active magnetic bearing used in Beacon's flywheels) was first patented in 1941, 17 years before the first patent for carbon fiber.

            Conservito delenda est pro is deleo orbis terrarum!

            by Stwriley on Tue Aug 10, 2010 at 07:44:58 PM PDT

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            •  I know not as an idea. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not talking about the idea of them.  I'm talking about the actual innovation (to use your word).  While the idea of the helicopter has been around since DaVinci, we don't say that it is a several hundred year old innovation, do we?  Igor Sikorsky might have something to say about that.  

              My comment was in regard to your saying that Carbon fiber structure as an innovation was newer than the innovation of active magnetic bearings in a flywheel.  If one is speaking about them as an actual functioning element in a flywheel, or comparable use, the bearings as they are used in Beacon's device are much more recent than filament wound Carbon fiber structures.  

              Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

              by nsfbr on Wed Aug 11, 2010 at 10:24:22 AM PDT

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              •  You miss the point again (0+ / 0-)

                I was talking about these things as ideas that have been made possible by more recent technical advances, not about their actuality. That was the entire point of my post, about the ideas that have become part of the general innovation in flywheels; otherwise I'd have been simply re-stating the diary, something I don't really bother with a comment for.

                Besides, as all the technical literature points out, high-speed carbon fiber flywheel systems must use active magnetic bearings and have from the start, since any other type of bearing cannot support the high rotational velocity of these flywheels (to say nothing of the difficulty of operating a mechanical bearing in a vacuum.) The reverse is certainly not true, as companies like ActivePower use magnetic bearings but still use steel flywheels in their commercial products.

                Conservito delenda est pro is deleo orbis terrarum!

                by Stwriley on Wed Aug 11, 2010 at 12:49:25 PM PDT

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    •  That would be great (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aaraujo, Joffan, nextstep, dorkenergy

      But for the time being, this is power regulation not long-term storage. For now, it just takes the edge off surges.

      With only limited energy-storage capacity, Beacon's flywheels provide energy for minutes, not hours. Consequently, Beacon's moneymaking opportunity lies not in storing power during off-peak hours and releasing it during on-peak hours, but from its fast response.

      WSJ

      It's still very worthwhile; current methods of responding to surges are enormously wasteful.

      What could BPossibly go wrong?? -RLMiller

      by nosleep4u on Tue Aug 10, 2010 at 06:46:30 PM PDT

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      •  More accurate to say 'power management' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aaraujo

        It can be quite useful in environments that see heavy surge loads.

        Not only does it smooth out the power demands, but with proper design, the maximum power needed for the application drops substantially.  That means that smaller and more efficient generators/power sources can be used, instead of running a larger unit at (mostly) lower utilization.

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