Renewable Energy Storage Systems
Renewable forms of energy are critical to provide distributable sources of energy and to protect the environment from the harmful effects of global warming. Presently, hydroelectricity, solar power and wind power are the most stable forms of renewable energy. The addition of new technologies like, Smart Grids make these renewable technologies more practical forms of power sources for the world.
One concept of renewable energy, known as perpetual motion, has intrigued mankind since the middle Ages. The best mathematicians and scientists in history have strived to create a type of wheel that would perpetually spin, creating energy to power mechanical devices. Friction or the resistance of surfaces has always proved perpetual motion to be unattainable. With the application of different materials, the wheel devices would spin for long periods of time, but eventually stop due to friction.
Renewable Flywheel Energy
Recently, scientists and inventors have returned to a form of perpetual motion that actually works. Flywheel energy uses a super-balanced flywheel and magnetic bearings in a vacuum chamber, which gets its perpetual motion potential from an electric or petrol/diesel motors.
The most common use of Flywheel energy is in the locomotive industry. During braking the flywheels are disengaged from the trains axial and freely spin. From using flywheel technologies trains can recoup almost 10% of the energy usage over a journey. Other methods use the flywheel technology to charge chemical or mechanical batteries to power onboard devices such as electric doors, lights and even the cooking equipment of the train.
Recently the flywheel technology has been reinvigorated with the potential to use the technology for short to medium term energy storage. Flywheel energy storage could be an applicable technology for smaller automobiles and devices.
Flywheel energy storage is lightweight and has long usable lifetimes, eliminating the disadvantage of other battery powered systems with low capacities; short use and long re-charge times. Some of the DIY solutions to flywheel energy storage already look promising though are still incredibly dangerous due to the Rpm of the wheels.
(Do Not Attempt to Build This)
Future Advances in the Technology
The various types of energy storage technologies have helped improved the storage of energy from suppliers and distribution to consumers with improvements in efficiency, reliability and sustainability. One of the upcoming technologies is the idea of Smart Grids.
Smart Grid technology aims to generate the same amount of power as is demanded with as little energy loss as possible. This is attained by using multiple generators that operate efficiently and independently of each other to create a stable flow of electricity. Without computer assisted load balancing, brownouts and blackouts are likely to occur, this is where Flywheel technologies come be perfect. Their ability to quickly store and output energy means the technology could be one way to control and reduce the impact of brownouts and blackouts.