Storage techniques electricity Flywheel technology

The use of flywheel technology to store energy has been pioneered in vehicles. Braking energy is used to power a flywheel which then supplements acceleration energy. The development thrust, however, has come from space technology. Its true potential lies in the storage of energy over a much longer term and in larger quantities as friction problems are overcome. An experimental project is underway on the Isle of Islay which is also the site of the pioneer wave energy projects (Chapter 3).

The Japanese are taking the technology further by developing a levitating flywheel using high temperature superconducting ceramics to repel magnetic fields. The flywheel is made to rotate by electromagnetic induction to a speed of 3600 revolutions per minute which represents an energy storage capacity of 10 000 watt hours. Energy can be drawn off by the permanent magnets in the disc inducing an electric current in a coil. If situated in a vacuum, the energy loss over a 24 hour period would be negligible (New Scientist, 13 July 1991, p. 28).

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