Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-01-0525
2009-04-20

Design of a Flywheel Based Energy Storage and Distribution System for Rural Villages in China 2009-01-0525

There are 30 million people in remote, rural communities in China without access to electricity. The government of China has initiated an ongoing effort to provide constant, reliable power to these citizens. Renewable energy is being utilized to solve this problem, which necessitates the use of a storage medium for energy, because renewable energies (i.e. wind and/or solar power) are inherently intermittent, variable, and largely unpredictable. By storing excess energy when it is plentiful (for a maximum feasible time of two days) and distributing it to the community in times of scarcity, the intermittent power is effectively leveled and auxiliary power is provided.
A high-inertia flywheel was designed for this application because of its simplicity, ease of maintenance, low cost, and reliability. This design addresses many problems including bearing losses, aerodynamic losses, and distribution losses. The proposed design consists of a six spoke layout with a large outer ring. A flywheel of approximately 152 tons, combined with a grid system and a renewable energy source, will provide constant power for a village of approximately 200 residents with enough energy for up to two days without additional input. The grid system will convert a range of output voltages and frequencies from the output flywheel generator to constant 220 VAC at 50 Hz for consumer use.

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