Flywheel technology is an alternative to chemical batteries and the technology source of efficient and powerful race cars. Flywheel technology has become popular simply because it stores energy that could have been wasted in other motor systems. But the usefulness of flywheel technology may not just be for race cars, but it is slowly being integrated into the subway systems of large cities. It is believed to be able to provide cities an affordable power system that would probably bring down the crown expensive power suppliers.
How will it exactly store energy in subway systems? Let’s take a look into its mechanics. When a subway station hits its brakes, energy is dissipated in large amount. Most modern trains thus run reversely their electric motors so they can lessen the energy released as heat into a grid that absorbs the energy flow. Flywheels however capture the heat instead and send it back as energy to the grid. When the previous system wastes a lot of energy, the flywheels conserve what are wasted.
What consists a flywheel system? Flywheels have large spinning discs held in magnetic bearings that are frictionless. These can spin up to fifty thousand revolutions in a minute. They have strong steel hubs, dual mode motor or generator and high end system controls. The four components are reportedly able to provide a 20 year lifespan of energy source without needing to be maintained.
The fact that flywheels can cut energy costs is the reason why they are really getting popular. In 2002 even, the proprietor of strong flywheel systems in rail industries, Vycon, has almost made things really work out when they first installed flywheels in a New York City subway. It was just that although the installation was successful, it was still difficult to make the whole system go in full time use at that time. Presently though, Vycon has already addressed this problem.
Vycon wants to see whether the technology will work in places outside US, specifically in China and India, but considers these areas as too far away for the second opportunity of installing flywheels. Such places would have been ideal because of their stop and go subway lines emphasizing short powerful bursts of power. Due to the distance concern, Vycon has considered current discussions with Sacramento, Denver and Los Angeles officials for a series of flywheels system trials.