I have written before about the efforts of Beacon Power and Amber Kinetics efforts to develop flywheel energy storage systems for grid frequency regulation. One can argue that Beacon power is the more successful of the two companies since they have already installed a 20MW flywheel plant at Stephentown NY, and are scheduled to open a second 20MW plant at Hazeltown PA within the next few months, while Amber Kinetics has yet to install its first demo system. However, a bankruptcy and acquisition intervened between Beacon Power's first and second plant and it is not clear that they have received any additional orders.
Beacon Power uses flywheels with carbon fiber composite rims while Amber Kinetics is attempting to lower costs by using flywheel rims made from steel wire. Beacon power has just announced the acquisition of the rights to a new composite flywheel design developed by Hanyang University professor Ha Sung Kyu. Professor Ha is a specialist in composite materials and claims to have developed a design for a large (1 meter rotor diameter, weight=1 ton) flywheel with a carbon fiber composite rim which is capable of storing more than 50kWh of energy in a single flywheel compared to the 25kWh which Beacons current flywheels are capable of storing. The hope is that this new design will lower the price point of composite rim flywheels and thus improve their marketability as grid energy storage devices.
Apr 3, 2014Energy Storage News
rogerkb [at] energystoragenews [dot] com