Flywheel Technology Offers a Reliable, Green Energy Solution


Presentation Summary: Flywheel systems are as sustainable as they are reliable which is why these systems are being deployed around the globe in mission-critical operations such as data centers, hospitals, universities, broadcast studios and manufacturing plants to protect critical computing equipment from damaging and costly power outages and to provide a greener solution over battery-based uninterruptible power systems (UPSs). The addition of a flywheel system also results in reduced peak power, lower fuel consumption, and energy savings in electric motors and diesel generators on shipyard cranes, rail power substations and wind power generation systems. Flywheel systems are ideal to meet the needs of the constantly changing power quality market, today and well into the future.

Speakers: John Englhardt and Dann McKeraghan. John Englhardt has an engineering degree from Miami University and has been involved in the sales and marketing of power quality products and services since 1983. John began his career with Liebert Corporation and eventually left for an opportunity with Exide Electronics with whom he has been associated with for over 21 years. John founded E Technologies in 1998 and immediately became the NE Ohio representative for Exide Electronics (now known as EATON | Powerware). E Technologies is based in Chagrin Falls and continues to represent Eaton | Powerware and several other complimentary products including Vycon Flywheels, Universal Electric’s Starline Track Busway, Rittal, and others.

During his 25-year career, Dann McKeraghan has held key positions with power quality leaders such as Eaton, Exide Electronics, Power Distribution Inc. and VYCON. Prior to joining VYCON, Dann was with Eaton Corporation where he managed the Central Zone for Eaton’s Powerware brand of Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPSs) and associated power quality solutions for nearly a decade.

Dann joined VYCON in October 2008 and currently holds the position of vice president. Under his direction, strategic programs were initiated that included establishment of industry alliances, increasing awareness in the market for VYCON’s unique flywheel technology, building of a world class sales team and implementation of proven sales processes for large capital equipment. Through his leadership VYCON sales in the power quality market has expanded to record levels for the company.


Location: Mavis Winkle's Irish Pub 5005 Rockside Road (In the Cleveland Clinic Building) Independence, Ohio 44131 (At the intersection of Rockside Rd. and I-77)


Date: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Notes from meeting:

Flywheels versus Batteries: A flywheel can be used in place of a battery bank for emergency power backup.

Why flywheels?

  • Not affected by temperature
  • Long (20 year) lifespan
  • High efficiency (99.4%)
  • Small footprint -- wt = 1500 lbs vs. battery bank wt. of 3500 lbs
  • Minimal Maintenance
  • High power density
  • High reliability -- don't know the capability of a battery until a load is put on it.
  • Simple installation
  • Possibly no bearing changes
  • Environmentally friendly (no acid or lead) - no hydrogen detectors required
  • Smaller carbon footprint (energy required to install/dispose of batteries)


  • Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) - 3 to 5 yrs life
  • Wet cell battery - require spill containment
  • Require cooling or heating
  • Number of discharges kills battery life

  • Average ROI for DC Flywheel vs. Battery is 4 years.
  • Average outage for data centers is 8 seconds in 99% of instances
  • Average utility outage is 2 min.

    Market segments: Energy re-cycling applications

    Train station -- can capture energy upon braking, release it at start (only a few applications)

    Shipping Cranes -- on the downcycle of the crane, caputre energy, release it to lift

  • Results in 40% savings on fuel to run cranes
  • Flywheels rotate at about 36000 rpm, housed in environmentally controlled housings.
  • Flywheels are made of steel; they are "mechanical batteries"
  • Flywheels are stressed to 48% of their engineered capacity.

    Flywheel Details:

  • Magnetic Levitation is used in a vacuum housing, so no bearings are required.
  • Only maintenance is annually changing the oil in the vacuum pump.
  • Typically vertical orientation; unit is dynamically balanced.
  • Windings are in the stator; rotor has only permanent magnets.
  • Weight of flywheel itself is 800 lbs; total assembly is about 1500 lbs.
  • Stores about 300kw for of useable power for 10 secs. at 36000 rpm down to 18000 rpm.
  • Gives about 20 seconds at full load power; at normal loads, about 45 to 90 seconds
  • Most UPS generators take 10-12 secs. to come up and take over the charging operation; the flywheel is used to keep power on the grid for this time period.
  • 400-600V from the flywheel for a 480V nominal voltage.

    Kinetic Energy:

    KE = m(rpm) squared

    Low Speed (up to 8000 rpm): Double the mass = double the energy

    High Speed: Double the rpm = quadruple the energy


    Second generation design:

  • Ultra-high speed (52000 rpm)
  • Carbon graphite, liquid cooled
  • Small composite mass (60 lb)
  • No recovery from drop out event

    Flywheel can be used in parallel with battery for Battery Hardening applications. This eliminates harsh initial power drop on battery at switchover time


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