Despite being tipped as the next frontier in energy storage, the flywheel is actually a fairly old and time-tested technology.
First used in potters wheels and then widely used in engines and machines during the industrial revolution, flywheel energy storage solutions in the UK are a clean and efficient way of levelling supply and demand in energy grids, particularly from renewable energy sources.
They are set to play a significant role in the transition to a sustainable electrical power system – here’s how.
What exactly is flywheel energy storage?
Flywheel energy storage systems are an ingenious way to store electricity in the form of kinetic energy.
The flywheel, in simple terms, is essentially a mechanical battery.
It works by using electricity to accelerate a rotor to a high speed, transferring the electrical power into rotational energy and storing it.
Energy can then be drawn by slowing down the flywheel, which converts the kinetic energy back to electrical energy to be transmitted to wherever it is required.
Flywheel technology represents an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical batteries and can be used to overcome the limitations of intermittent renewable energy sources.
Beyond batteries – the energy storage solution of the future.
Compared to other ways of storing energy such as chemical batteries, flywheel energy storage solutions are extremely low maintenance and have a very long lifespan.
Flywheel technology benefits because it experiences zero degradation over time, allowing for unlimited daily cycling without the side effects usually associated with electrochemical storage. Its high modularity equates to high availability at site level, and low operations and maintenance costs drive excellent financial performance.
The round trip efficiency of flywheel energy storage solutions, i.e. the percentage of electricity put into storage that is later retrieved, reaches more than 85%. In addition, they are not affected by temperature fluctuations like chemical batteries are and can operate in hot and cold environments ranging from -20C to 50C.
Decarbonisation demands more than renewables and battery-based storage.
The diverse demands of today’s energy market require technologies designed to cope with increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and natural disasters, rolling power outages and outdated transmission and distribution networks.
With the UK planning to increase its installed capacity for offshore wind generation to 40GW by 2030, storage is necessary to integrate that energy resource and provide the types of ancillary services historically provided by conventional power plants.
Achieving decarbonisation, therefore, requires intermittent renewable power sources to be paired with zero-carbon long-duration energy storage systems to capture and deliver a continuous supply of uninterrupted power to the grid.
Amber Kinetics, the industry leader in manufacturing grid-scale kinetic energy storage system (KESS) has the solution.
Amber Kinetics - the next frontier in energy storage.
As the only provider of a long-duration flywheel energy storage solution, Amber Kinetics has engineered a flywheel to meet the energy storage needs of the modern grid —at a lower cost and higher efficiency than gas-peakers or pumped hydro.
Most importantly, Amber Kinetics has managed to extend the duration and efficiency of flywheels from minutes to hours—resulting in safe, economical and reliable energy storage in the UK.
The Amber Kinetics M32 (8kW,32kWh) is the first commercialised four-hour discharge duration Kinetic Energy Storage System (KESS).
It’s powered by advanced flywheel technology that stores 32 kWh of energy in a two-ton steel rotor. When grouped together, similar to solar PV panels, the individual flywheels can be scaled up to tens or even hundreds of megawatts for grid-connected or grid forming applications.
Capturing excess renewable generation during off-peak hours and discharging during peak hours enables utilities to satisfy Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates and avoid costly Transmission and Distribution (T&D) upgrades and investments, with savings passed through to rate payers.
For more information about Amber Kinetics flywheel energy storage solution in the UK, please visit www.amberkinetics.com.