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New Flywheel Tech Could Lower Energy Storage Costs

Producing energy from both conventional and renewable energy sources is relatively straightforward. Storing it and delivering it affordably and evenly across the demand spectrum is another thing entirely, so effective energy storage solutions are one of the keys to wider adoption of clean energy sources.

Matching peak demand times with optimal production levels isn’t a simple task, especially for wind and solar power plants, but a new type of flywheel may hold the answer for high performance energy storage, and do it at a lower cost than current technologies can.

The team at Velkess believes they have the answer to providing cheap and effective clean energy storage with their new design for a kinetic flywheel, which they call “a radical improvement on existing flywheel technologies”.

At the heart of their system is a flexible flywheel rotor:

“The flywheel rotor itself is the fundamental component in a flywheel energy storage system. Velkess’s novel flywheel rotor is made in a flexible configuration that avoids many of the pitfalls of rigid rotor designs. Additionally, it allows for the use of a far wider range of materials and enables more complete use of the rotor material’s full potential. Furthermore, because Velkess’s patent pending flywheel is self-balancing and simple to manufacture, the cost of production is significantly reduced. These features together allow Velkess’s system to provide safe, efficient, large scale energy storage at a radically lower cost than any currently available alternative technology.” – Velkess

Velkess has also developed a high efficiency electric motor/generator for the system, also at a lower cost than current alternatives, and together, the company states, they could “provide the electrical grid with stored power at a fraction of the cost, and at significantly better efficiency than the best presently available commercial technologies.”

Right now, Velkess is running a Kickstarter campaign to help them scale up their energy storage system from the size of their latest prototype (a 25lb flywheel, which can store ½ kWh of energy) to a much larger version that can store up to 15kWh. The money raised there will be used to fund the development of a new magnetic motor and bearing assembly that can support the new 750lb flywheel, which would be much closer in size to a commercially viable device.

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