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FLYWHEELS
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A fly wheel is a mechanical system, usually in the shape of a wheel, that stores rotational energy. As flywheels tend to be heavy, a lot of energy has to be applied to make one spin. As more energy is applied the wheel spins faster. Flywheels require a lot of force to make them stop and it is this that makes them very useful for storing energy. The fact that they tend to keep spinning, is due to their ‘angular momentum’. It is this momentum that can be used later, to produce movement elsewhere or electrical power. Just as a battery stores electrical energy, a flywheel stores kinetic energy (movement).
 
When power is required from the flywheel, the axil is engaged, so that it rotates with the wheel. The rotational power of the axle, produces electricity by way of the electrical generator.
 
 
During Victorian times, flywheels were heavy and manufactured from iron and steel. Modern flywheels are manufactured from other materials such as carbon fibre.
 
This steam powered traction engine has a large cast iron flywheel. This helped to smooth overall power output and when engaged, to provide additional power.
 
FLYWHEELS AND POWER OUTPUT
 
A flywheel rotates around an axle and it is the contact with the axle that most produce as little friction as possible. Traditional ‘ball bearings’ need to be well lubricated, although they still lose 20% to 50% of their energy, over a two hour period.
Modern bearings are magnets, which create very little friction. They are much more efficient compared to traditional bearings, losing only 3% to 12% of their energy (over a two hour period). Today, there is research into using superconducting materials to reduce friction even further. Flywheels only work efficiently, when very little of their energy is lost through friction. The air around a flywheel also creates friction. Therefore, research is also being carried out on operating flywheels in a vacuum.
 
MODERN FLYWHEEL APPLICATION - DIESEL ROTARY UPS SYSTEMS
 

A company called ‘Hitec Power Protection’, manufacture energy supply systems, which include a kinetic storage capability. They provide uninterrupted and continuous power, without the need for batteries (which are environmentally unfriendly).

The Rotary UPS system is for businesses and organisations, that need uninterrupted and continuous power supply. This includes defence, government organisations, hospitals, financial services and ICT companies. The system will start automatically, if there is a problem with the supply of electricity from the grid.

A diesel engine provides the backup power and also recharges the induction coupling (flywheel), which is now ready to enhance supply, if the situation arises.

 
 
 
 
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