Energy production and management is a challenge, regardless of the method of which energy is generated. Power demand varies during the day and it is not always accurately predicted, increasing the importance of measures to ensure greater stability. We rely on electricity far more than we realize as it affects various facets of our living- almost everything we do is powered by electricity, from powered alarm systems at home to road signals on the street.
Reliability is particularly a challenge when it comes to renewable energy sources due to its intermittent nature. The solution to this has been to couple renewables with energy storage to help manage demand.
Batteries are the common storage option used for wind and solar energy storage. However they also face challenges due to their relatively short lifespans, supply chain concerns, and environmental implications. In recent years, flywheel technology has emerged as an effective and clean alternative to help manage renewable generation.
Flywheels have been used in the past and until recently, overlooked as an energy storage option. With breakthroughs in research and development, it is now recognized as a viable and competitive energy storage method, with some companies even developing flywheels fit for grid-scale use.
Amber Kinetics is the industry-leader in manufacturing grid-scale kinetic energy storage systems (KESS), providing the only long-duration flywheel energy storage. Their flagship product, the M32 flywheel, offers a power capacity of 8kW, a discharge duration of four hours, and is also highly scalable.
A notable advantage of this emerging technology is that it is produced from recyclable steel, making for a more sustainable energy storage solution. The M32 flywheel can be expected to last up to 30 years, while other technologies typically have a lifespan of less than five years. Whether supporting either small or large scale applications, flywheels may finally unlock renewables’ potential to give us a reliable and emission-free energy future.