Flywheels may not be associated with innovation but could there be a renaissance on the horizon? Some think so.
How do they work? The energy a flywheel contains is a function of the speed that it is spinning multiplied by the moment of inertia. So the faster a wheel spins and the more mass that is concentrated towards the rim the more energy it can produce/store as the speed and inertia are greater.
New companies are now looking to flywheels as cheap sustainable options to combine with other renewable sources such as solar to use as a battery storage system that can be called upon at any moment. During moments of excess production flywheel could be used to store this energy that would be needed during high demand and unlike battery storage there is little to no degradation of the mechanical system over time. Some companies are claiming that efficiency of the system is over 90% meaning that flywheels are a solid alternative to batteries that could be installed in small scale (homes) and large scales (solar farms) but continue to be 100% green technology.
Flywheels can be installed in a modular fashion to allow for scalable demand and output during different peak times so now one of the oldest energy storage innovations seems to have been brought back around to help power the future.
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