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Posted: 6/13/2009 9:29:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 9:36:42 PM EST by Skibane]
(Can you spot the MASSIVE PHYSICS FAIL in this story?)

Storing energy for when needed
$2M flywheel-based operation designed to cut greenhouse gases

The Times-Union (NY)
By BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer
First published in print: Friday, June 12, 2009

STEPHENTOWN –– The state is ready to invest $2 million to build a flywheel-based electricity storage system designed to help reduce greenhouse gases, which cause global warming.

The nation's second system based on the technology will be created with an expected grant from the New York State Energy Research And Development Authority, which funds projects that aim to reduce petroleum consumption in the state. The money will help Massachusetts-based Beacon Power build a $50 million plant in what is now a cornfield in this Rensselaer County town.

The plant will house an array of massive flywheels spinning at up to 16,000 revolutions per minute. They're designed to store excess power from the electrical grid, releasing it as needed to match the ebb and flow of statewide demand for electricity to avoid brownouts and blackouts.

Smoothing the electric supply is now done by ramping up fossil-fuel-powered electric plants, which burn coal, oil and natural gas. Emissions from those plants produce carbon dioxide, identified by an international scientific consensus as the cause of global warming.

No additional fossil fuel is needed to produce power at the proposed Beacon plant on Grange Hall Road near the intersection of routes 22 and 43. Instead, 200 flywheels –– each a rotating disk 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide –– will spin, using motors that draw excess energy from the power grid when it is not needed.

When demand for electricity increases, the flywheels –– sealed in a vacuum and floating on magnetic bearings to reduce friction –– can be switched to run generators that return power to the grid.

Because of an almost total lack of friction, the flywheels can spin out power for about a hour, meaning power plants won't have to increase capacity to meet demand.

A 20-megawatt flywheel plant, like the one planned for the seven-acre facility, should prevent the release of up to 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. That's equal to saving 20,000 barrels of oil or taking about 2,000 cars off the road.

Beacon, based in Tyngsboro, Mass., near Lowell, has been developing the flywheel technology for about a decade and is applying for a U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee to support the Stephentown project.

The construction schedule will depend on the federal loan, said Gene Hunt, Beacon's director of corporate communications. "It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when," he said.

Beacon has been running a one-megawatt flywheel system near its headquarters for the last seven months that is connected to the New England electrical grid.

Under an anticipated contract with Beacon, NYSERDA will help pay for design, site preparation, flywheel production, installation, system commissioning, data monitoring and analysis of the first 1-megawatt flywheel system. This system will connect to a line owned by New York State Electric & Gas. When the entire 20 megawatts are finished, the system will be connected to a National Grid transmission line.

The Beacon system helps meet state environmental goals by being "clean and green … it generates power, but it burns no fuel," said Ray Hull, a NYSERDA spokesman.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:33:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 9:37:34 PM EST by Gripy]
Originally Posted By Skibane:
(Can you spot the MASSIVE PHYSICS FAIL in this story?)
The Beacon system helps meet state environmental goals by being "clean and green … it generates power, but it burns no fuel," said Ray Hull, a NYSERDA spokesman.


Not sure how a fly wheel can generate energy. It can store energy but I don't think this will work out the way they think it will.

ETA: just read the article again. You cannot stop the burning of fuel. You still need to spin the wheels back up after you have used them. Also are the magnets the are going to support the disks going to be natural magnets or electro-magnets?
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:33:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By Skibane:
"clean and green … it generates power, but it burns no fuel," said Ray Hull, a NYSERDA spokesman.

Ray Hull is either a liar, or a fucktard, or both.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:34:30 PM EST
So where does extra electricity "go" now when its unused. Its a closed loop system right? Is it all lost to heat and transmission losses?
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:35:39 PM EST
They should just spend the R&D money on the unicorn-powered perpetual motion machine. That's likely to pay off first.

I wonder what the ratio of philosophy majors to engineers being hired for these "green" projects is?
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:36:04 PM EST

Originally Posted By Gripy:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
(Can you spot the MASSIVE PHYSICS FAIL in this story?)
The Beacon system helps meet state environmental goals by being "clean and green … it generates power, but it burns no fuel," said Ray Hull, a NYSERDA spokesman.


Not sure how a fly wheel can generate energy. It can store energy but I don't think this will work out the way they think it will.

They get spun up in freewheel mode during times of excess capacity, then when the grid is stressed, they engage them to a generator to provide a little extra power. Sort of how your A/C compressor pulley in your car is always spinning, but only engages the compressor itself when the clutch is switched on. *I think*
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:36:50 PM EST
Sounds like a huge buffer system for the energy grid...
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:37:39 PM EST
Electro-magnetic energy transmission similar to the concept of wireless electricity. Yes, wireless! Just Google it already!
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:39:34 PM EST
BTW, this is a 2MW plan, an 1100MW Nuke plant would cost maybe $15b. If you were to make the same amount of power with these flywheels (and you're not really generating power with this system) the price would be about $27.5b.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:40:01 PM EST

Originally Posted By LOW2000:

Originally Posted By Gripy:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
(Can you spot the MASSIVE PHYSICS FAIL in this story?)
The Beacon system helps meet state environmental goals by being "clean and green … it generates power, but it burns no fuel," said Ray Hull, a NYSERDA spokesman.


Not sure how a fly wheel can generate energy. It can store energy but I don't think this will work out the way they think it will.

They get spun up in freewheel mode during times of excess capacity, then when the grid is stressed, they engage them to a generator to provide a little extra power. Sort of how your A/C compressor pulley in your car is always spinning, but only engages the compressor itself when the clutch is switched on. *I think*

They are trying to 'even out' their usage would be my guess.

The burn a slight bit more during off peak times at a efficient rate, to keep from burning more less efficiently during high peak times.

To make it worthwhile the loss of energy from the flywheels (friction, and 'converting' energy) has to be less than the loss in efficiency of throttling up a plant.

Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:40:32 PM EST
Originally Posted By StoutOfHeart:
Electro-magnetic energy transmission similar to the concept of wireless electricity. Yes, wireless! Just Google it already!


Tesla was screwing around w/ wireless electricity way back when.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:40:43 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 9:45:19 PM EST by hobbsar]
Originally Posted By Gripy:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
(Can you spot the MASSIVE PHYSICS FAIL in this story?)
The Beacon system helps meet state environmental goals by being "clean and green … it generates power, but it burns no fuel," said Ray Hull, a NYSERDA spokesman.


Not sure how a fly wheel can generate energy. It can store energy but I don't think this will work out the way they think it will.


Sounds like it could theoretically work.
The motors turn the flywheels when there is excess energy. When demand rises, the motors become generators with the inertia stored in the mass of the flywheel driving them.
Kind of like the regenerative braking in a hybrid or electric car uses the inertia of the car to recharge batteries when the car is moving but not under power.
I am just a high school grad, so I am looking at this from a common sense point of view, if there is a failure in the physics, I am to ignorant to see it.


ETA: You are right, it really does not generate electricity, it converts the electrical energy into motion, then converts it back into electricity.
Just saw the flaw. It is going to take more energy to get the flywheels spinning and keep them spinning than they will be storing.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:44:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 9:45:03 PM EST by Gripy]
Originally Posted By hobbsar:
Originally Posted By Gripy:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
(Can you spot the MASSIVE PHYSICS FAIL in this story?)
The Beacon system helps meet state environmental goals by being "clean and green … it generates power, but it burns no fuel," said Ray Hull, a NYSERDA spokesman.


Not sure how a fly wheel can generate energy. It can store energy but I don't think this will work out the way they think it will.


Sounds like it could theoretically work.
The motors turn the flywheels when there is excess energy. When demand rises, the motors become generators with the inertia stored in the mass of the flywheel driving them.
Kind of like the regenerative braking in a hybrid or electric car uses the inertia of the car to recharge batteries when the car is moving but not under power.
I am just a high school grad, so I am looking at this from a common sense point of view, if there is a failure in the physics, I am to ignorant to see it.



I understand the idea of what they are trying to do but they are saying these flywheels will generate energy. They only store the energy like a giant capacitor. It all depends on much how less effecient it is to just burn extra fuel for peak usage times.

Eta: you cannot generate energy w/o using some kind of fuel.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:49:47 PM EST
Originally Posted By LOW2000:
BTW, this is a 2MW plan, an 1100MW Nuke plant would cost maybe $15b. If you were to make the same amount of power with these flywheels (and you're not really generating power with this system) the price would be about $27.5b.


If this fails it cost 27.5 million and no one glows... the alternative is fatal (like global warming).....Libs don't care about money especially yours..Al Gore for president lol
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:56:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By Gripy:
Originally Posted By StoutOfHeart:
Electro-magnetic energy transmission similar to the concept of wireless electricity. Yes, wireless! Just Google it already!


Tesla was screwing around w/ wireless electricity way back when.
Exactly! Tesla was working on it in like 1890 or something like that, based on Michael Faraday's discovery of electromagnetic induction about 50 or 60 years before that. Not a new concept, just one whose time has finally come since technology has caught up with imagination.

My i850 flip phone looks a heck of a lot like the communicators from the original Star Trek TV series in the '60s. I'd bet that anyone hearing them tell it'd be real one day would call them crazy, too.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:05:27 PM EST
This really only saves if you can spin up the flywheels at off peak and the power output from them is enough to preclude starting up a peak shaving plant. I don't know if 20MW will do it, but I'm a chemical engineer. Electricity is foreign to me.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:05:58 PM EST
Thats "like a shovel with a rope handle".
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:13:33 PM EST
For the current grid, there are probably easier, and cheaper ways to load balance the demand (hydroelectric plants with variable-rate valves... hmm....).

For solar/wind/otherwise "renewable/green" (god I hate those terms) it may make sense. Spin a bunch of really big masses up to really high rates when input energy is plentiful, and use that inertia when it is not.

On the other hand, a proven technology may make more sense - pump water (or any other liquid) up high when energy is plentiful, and let gravity pull it down through turbines when it's needed.

Flywheels, not in a vacuum, will slow down through friction. Water will lose mass through evaporation. What takes more input energy vs. output energy?

Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:15:42 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:23:43 PM EST
So long as they are doing this as mostly research and concept-test, it doesn't seem like too bad a boondogle, I can think of lots of reasons and applications for storing off-peak generated electricty. If this this is intended to be the 'production' model though, it seems a little inefficient costwise. I think it might be a good idea to test-for-failure those large, 16,000 RPM masses being held together by, apparently, magnets alone. If those magnets fail, guess what happens to the mass...hint: it doesn't just stop, or keep going in circles. Seems like there might be safer ways to store energy, maybe the efficiency is great enough to overshadow this issue.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:35:23 PM EST
It all depends on what is supplying the grid now. The supply must not be adjustable, so rather than waste the energy they want to store it for later use on the grid. I don't see a physics fail. The last comment is not complete and we don't know its exact context. A similar idea was being developed for a rail gun. A flywheeel was constantly being driven by a motor. When the gun was fired the flywheel would supply a large amount of energy very quickly and slow down. As the next round is loaded the flywheel is driven back up to speed to supply power for the next round to be fired. It allows a limited power supply to produce a large amount of power for a short time, just like your camera flash.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:51:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By Phocks:
So long as they are doing this as mostly research and concept-test, it doesn't seem like too bad a boondogle, I can think of lots of reasons and applications for storing off-peak generated electricty. If this this is intended to be the 'production' model though, it seems a little inefficient costwise. I think it might be a good idea to test-for-failure those large, 16,000 RPM masses being held together by, apparently, magnets alone. If those magnets fail, guess what happens to the mass...hint: it doesn't just stop, or keep going in circles. Seems like there might be safer ways to store energy, maybe the efficiency is great enough to overshadow this issue.


or if the flywheel crashes on the magnets due to vibration.
what vibration?
let's say they won't be doing that in tremor zones like california.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 11:11:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 11:13:14 PM EST by DaGrandPoobah]
Originally Posted By Ragin_Cajun:
They should just spend the R&D money on the unicorn-powered perpetual motion machine. That's likely to pay off first.

I wonder what the ratio of philosophy majors to engineers being hired for these "green" projects is?


+1,000,000,000,000
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 11:18:09 PM EST
Originally Posted By Out_To_Sea:
Originally Posted By Phocks:
So long as they are doing this as mostly research and concept-test, it doesn't seem like too bad a boondogle, I can think of lots of reasons and applications for storing off-peak generated electricty. If this this is intended to be the 'production' model though, it seems a little inefficient costwise. I think it might be a good idea to test-for-failure those large, 16,000 RPM masses being held together by, apparently, magnets alone. If those magnets fail, guess what happens to the mass...hint: it doesn't just stop, or keep going in circles. Seems like there might be safer ways to store energy, maybe the efficiency is great enough to overshadow this issue.


or if the flywheel crashes on the magnets due to vibration.
what vibration?
let's say they won't be doing that in tremor zones like california.


Yeah, I've read about the whole "flywheel kinetic energy storage" concept, seems alittle like keeping lightning stored in a bottle. Far better, thinks I, is the earlier suggestion to keep water pumped up to a higher level & just sitting there. Storing potential energy is alot less scary (and loss-free) than storing kinetic energy, anyday.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 11:20:42 PM EST
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Smoothing the electric supply is now done by ramping up fossil-fuel-powered electric plants, which burn coal, oil and natural gas. Emissions from those plants produce carbon dioxide, identified by an international scientific consensus as the cause alleged cause of global warming.


Fixed it for them.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 11:25:13 PM EST
The article says this is the 2nd system of this type. Where is the first and does it work? And I had thought that excess energy was sold to other power generators.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 11:26:46 PM EST
Are you telling me that there are committees of politicians, investors and public utilities people that couldn't pass middle-school physics in charge of this shit?

Unfucking real.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 11:30:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By JS98010:
Are you telling me that there are committees of politicians, investors and public utilities people that couldn't pass middle-school physics in charge of this shit?

Unfucking real.


No, not really. Welcome to the US of A.

Heck, we got a guy who doesn't understand basic economics in the White House, whaddya expect from state legislatures?
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 11:56:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By DaGrandPoobah:
Originally Posted By Out_To_Sea:
Originally Posted By Phocks:
So long as they are doing this as mostly research and concept-test, it doesn't seem like too bad a boondogle, I can think of lots of reasons and applications for storing off-peak generated electricty. If this this is intended to be the 'production' model though, it seems a little inefficient costwise. I think it might be a good idea to test-for-failure those large, 16,000 RPM masses being held together by, apparently, magnets alone. If those magnets fail, guess what happens to the mass...hint: it doesn't just stop, or keep going in circles. Seems like there might be safer ways to store energy, maybe the efficiency is great enough to overshadow this issue.

or if the flywheel crashes on the magnets due to vibration.
what vibration?
let's say they won't be doing that in tremor zones like california.

Yeah, I've read about the whole "flywheel kinetic energy storage" concept, seems alittle like keeping lightning stored in a bottle. Far better, thinks I, is the earlier suggestion to keep water pumped up to a higher level & just sitting there. Storing potential energy is alot less scary (and loss-free) than storing kinetic energy, anyday.

that would be a good idea, they could even put it by the town's water tower and use that as a reservoir. but, you lose efficiency when you raise the water with a pump, and you lose efficiency when the water has to use a turbine on the way down to make electricity. water pumps and turbines have a lot of friction.

a vacuum sealed flywheel on magnetic bearings that uses an electric motor/generator has to be way more efficient. practically frictionless.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:00:47 AM EST
What is enormously stupid about this concept is the fact that electricity must be generated to produce the energy to spin these flywheels. The same amount must be produced that is stored. Just like in a real capacitor.

It doesn't matter if the power generated comes from the original hydrocarbon powered station or the extra hydrocarbon fired plant later in the day. The same amount of hydrocarbons have to be burned for the power output.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:14:44 AM EST
Ray Hull
Sr. Technical Information Specialist at nyserda.com
17 Columbia Cirlce
Albany, NY 12203-6399



spend, spend, spend...

http://www.nyserda.org/Press_Releases/2009/PressRelease20091303.asp

spend, spend, spend...

http://www.nyserda.org/Press_Releases/2008/PressRelease20080402.asp


http://www.nyserda.org/pdfs/Governance/OrgChart2-24-09.pdf
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:24:03 AM EST
Another Green Energy Boondoggle. Set it along side Ethanol and Wind Turbines for wastefulness.

Nuclear Power and Coal Gassification are where the real savings are to be realized.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:24:09 AM EST
Originally Posted By LOW2000:
So where does extra electricity "go" now when its unused. Its a closed loop system right? Is it all lost to heat and transmission losses?


dude.. so funny you bring them up

in my area they just installed 75 windmills and i ALWAYS see them turned off.. i was like WTF.. if they are going to be up.. they should be spinning 24/7 (its not the wind problem.. they are turned off .. the blades are vectored straight)

i was told by a girl that works in the office that the company will get fined if they produce too much or too little power and that all the power gets transmitted directly to NYC..

burns my ass
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:26:00 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2009 4:42:14 AM EST by AeroE]
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:32:52 AM EST
I'm glad arfcom wasn't in charge of developing small arms over the last 200 years. If it was we'd still be using brown bess's and wrinkling our noses at rifle muskets!


We have to explore different things to see what works and what doesn't. Relying solely on today's tech will get us nowhere.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:38:23 AM EST
I've heard from more than one person that flywheel energy is super inneficient.

The thing about this though , if it DOES work it's gonna be darn good , electrical grids can only reduce their generation so much overnight
while the electrical grid is using very low consumption.

The thing you need to realize is that plants run at like 80% during the day of which maybe 70-75% gets used ,and at night they're at 40-50% of which maybe 10% gets used.

You really need to check into overnight commercial rates to see just how cheap power really is at night, in my area it's under 6 cents per kwh.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:44:07 AM EST
They are gonna need alot MOAR POWER than a 20Mwatt power supply to even make a dent in NYC.

For the life of me I do not understand why anybody would want to live in that close proximity to that many peoples.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 4:49:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2009 4:51:58 AM EST by Nexus6]
Yeah, wow this is some seriously stupid shit.

Now if they said "we want to make the best, most reliable battery possible for power spikes" ok sure, flywheel go, good job. But uh... a flywheel stores energy, it doesn't make it.

According to wikipedia, they can be fully charged in 15 minutes and are about 90% efficient, which is pretty awesome.

For those questioning flywheel physics and efficiency:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel_energy_storage

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel#Physics
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 5:28:56 AM EST
Wouldn't it take more energy to keep those things spinning all day than the energy it puts back into the grid for 1 hour when it is needed?
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:03:05 AM EST
Originally Posted By Nexus6:
According to wikipedia, they can be fully charged in 15 minutes and are about 90% efficient, which is pretty awesome.


90 percent is the theoretical maximum figure. In this particular application, it doesn't include losses associated with converting 60 Hz AC into a variable voltage to power the flywheel's motor, converting the flywheel generator's output back to 60 Hz AC, converting the resulting voltage to some common transmission voltage, regulating the power being supplied or demanded as the flywheel slows down or speeds up, etc., etc.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:22:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2009 6:27:59 AM EST by sav_carguy]
Ok , first off , a generator only makes as much electricity as it is required to make based on demand. There is NO "excess energy". None.

As an example , take for instance the alternator on a car(same basic operating principle). With the engine running and the alternator charging , disconnect the battery so that the electrical system only receives power from the alternator(generator). Now note the maximum power output of the alternator(100 amps , lets say) , and connect an ammeter to monitor actual output. The actual output will NEVER equal the maximum output unless there is enough electrical demand to warrant it. Guaranteed. Zero "excess energy" will be produced.

Here's how a power generation system works -

You have a set voltage number that you want the system to maintain , be it 13.8-14.5 volts DC like a car , or thousands of volts AC like a power plant. The less demand(electrical load) that is placed on the system , the less power(amperage) is required to maintain that voltage number. When demand increases , the power(amperage) generated must increase in order to prevent the system voltage from dropping below acceptable levels. If the demand is not there , the power will not be generated , period.

Here's what they will do with this kinetic energy storage device -

These flywheels require energy from the grid in order to achieve and maintain the rotational speed required to later retrieve power from them. This requires MORE energy from the grid than the storage devices can possibly give back to the grid. There is no such thing as "free" electrical power generation. In order to receive an output , there MUST be outside energy added to the system , and there WILL be parasitic losses in the system. Mankind is not capable of creating any device with 100% thermal efficiency , so the main loss will always be through the generation of heat , and electrical generators , like the motor/generators connected to these flywheels , generate a lot of heat while doing their job , whether they are demanding power to spin the flywheels , or generating power from the kinetic energy of the flywheels. No matter how smart the designers of the device think they are , the output will ALWAYS be less than the input. ALWAYS. There is no way around it.
The only possible gain in efficiency from the implementation of such a system will be the fact that traditional (fossil fuel fired) power plants will have the luxury of ramping up generation more slowly during times of peak demand , which may or may not yield any actual gain in absolute efficiency when compared to the cost (in power generated and lost) of keeping the flywheels turning. The whole thing is probably , at best , a wash.
It will , however , likely prevent brown/blackouts during times of peak demand , which will make people happy , since their AC and TV won't quit running as often.

Bottom line is this : The folks who are praising this as a project which will greatly reduce fuel consumption and emmisions are either lying , or being lied to by someone else.


EDIT - I didn't even mention the power required to maintain a vacuum on the vessel housing the flywheels or keep the magnetic bearings running , so that's even more parasitic loss.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:22:33 AM EST
they aren't thinking they're going to power the whole town with 20 MW. that's a reserve for when the electric power plant can't put out enough power, they want to avoid brownouts.

no, it doesn't take more energy to keep the flywheels spinning than what they could get back out of them. it should take very little, nothing is pushing them to keep going, there's very little friction, they keep spinning practically on their own until it's time to drain power off them.

as it is right now, they use coal and oil fuel power when they need it to boost power and avoid brownouts. they're saying that using these flywheels to soak up extra power when they can, will replace the coal and oil fueled power.

they said it would keep 12,000 tons of carbon from being released each year, which is the same as burning 20,000 barrels of oil. however, it costs $50,000,000 to build this flywheel farm. if you say oil currently costs $75/barrel, at 20,000 barrels/year it would take 33 years to break even. or say coal power costs 1/2 of oil power (pulling a number out my ass) it would take 66 years to break even. do they want an oldass obsolete flywheel plant? how long are they going to use it? 50 years? 100? I don't think it's worth it.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:22:52 AM EST
I'm naturally suspicious. The engineering isn't bothering me much, but the economics of any project which has a global warming tie-in are always suspect.


Step 1) Collect subsidies & build facility, probably go over budget but who cares when it is taxpayer money
Step 2) Buy off the grid at preferred price due to special project status, spin up he disks
Step 3) Sell back to the grid at even better price, slow down the disks

PROFIT!




Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:30:04 AM EST
Flywheels and other energy storage schemes can be used to improve system efficiency, thereby saving fuel and costs.

The spokesman for the state is an idiot. The flywheel doesn't create power, it is used to make existing plants more efficient.

Load varies. Power plants must be cycled to match load. Every plant has a point of operation where it is at maximum efficiency. When power plants cycle, they consume more fuel because they are throttled in the case of cutting back or they burn extra fuel over steady state trying to keep up with a sudden increase in load.

Storage systems can make wind and solar power more useful, since it gives you a way of providing power when those lag. (It also makes them much more expensive.)

Flywheels are pretty efficient since motors have efficiencies of over 90 per cent and bearings are relatively frictionless. In order for the flywheel system to be useful, it has to be more efficient than cycling a plant. In order for it to be economic, it has to be cheaper than constructing, fueling, and maintaining, a cycling plant that offers equivalent load cycling capability.

I would say the flywheels can probably do this. Building them and testing is a good way to find out. Since they are modular, it is easy to ramp up the cycling capability.

The flywheels being used are below ground in concrete "blockhouses". If something goes wrong, the flywheel is contained by the concrete. So you don't have to worry about a flywheel rolling through your picnic.

I would say this is probably a good project, but since the New York state agencies spokesman is an idiot, it is hard to tell whether the state would be able to evaluate whether the system is worthwhile. If they actually believe the thing is providing power rather than just improving efficiency, then the savings would be wildly over estimated.

The dumbass should just drink some more coffee and surf the internet and publish the manufacturers brochure instead of being allowed to speak.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:30:25 AM EST
Fucking Idiots. Gov. Patterson recently said that planned wind farm projects will generate 150MW in the state, and create 40,000 jobs. I work at a 90MW plant that employs 10 people, including office personel.

that's about 9MW per employee.

Patterson magical wind project will be at about .004 MW per employee.

Either he's an idiot that doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about, or that's gonna be the most expensive 150MW on the planet.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:31:50 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/14/2009 6:42:04 AM EST by AeroE]
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:34:03 AM EST
We have been doing this for years, only using water.
In CT during off peak hours the excess capacity is used to pump water uphill into lakes, then when demand increases the water is released, generating power.
Yes, there are losses, but they are minimal.
Since power use is not flat the low points are when power is stored and during peak hours released back into the grid.
Cheaper and much faster than building a new power plant that is only needed 10% of the time.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:36:53 AM EST
I've always wanted to build an enormous flywheel and then let it roll away.

Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:38:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By sav_carguy:
Ok , first off , a generator only makes as much electricity as it is required to make based on demand. There is NO "excess energy". None.

As an example , take for instance the alternator on a car(same basic operating principle). With the engine running and the alternator charging , disconnect the battery so that the electrical system only receives power from the alternator(generator). Now note the maximum power output of the alternator(100 amps , lets say) , and connect an ammeter to monitor actual output. The actual output will NEVER equal the maximum output unless there is enough electrical demand to warrant it. Guaranteed. Zero "excess energy" will be produced.

Here's how a power generation system works -

You have a set voltage number that you want the system to maintain , be it 13.8-14.5 volts DC like a car , or thousands of volts AC like a power plant. The less demand(electrical load) that is placed on the system , the less power(amperage) is required to maintain that voltage number. When demand increases , the power(amperage) generated must increase in order to prevent the system voltage from dropping below acceptable levels. If the demand is not there , the power will not be generated , period.

Here's what they will do with this kinetic energy storage device -

These flywheels require energy from the grid in order to achieve and maintain the rotational speed required to later retrieve power from them. This requires MORE energy from the grid than the storage devices can possibly give back to the grid. There is no such thing as "free" electrical power generation. In order to receive an output , there MUST be outside energy added to the system , and there WILL be parasitic losses in the system. Mankind is not capable of creating any device with 100% thermal efficiency , so the main loss will always be through the generation of heat , and electrical generators , like the motor/generators connected to these flywheels , generate a lot of heat while doing their job , whether they are demanding power to spin the flywheels , or generating power from the kinetic energy of the flywheels. No matter how smart the designers of the device think they are , the output will ALWAYS be less than the input. ALWAYS. There is no way around it.
The only possible gain in efficiency from the implementation of such a system will be the fact that traditional (fossil fuel fired) power plants will have the luxury of ramping up generation more slowly during times of peak demand , which may or may not yield any actual gain in absolute efficiency when compared to the cost (in power generated and lost) of keeping the flywheels turning. The whole thing is probably , at best , a wash.
It will , however , likely prevent brown/blackouts during times of peak demand , which will make people happy , since their AC and TV won't quit running as often.

Bottom line is this : The folks who are praising this as a project which will greatly reduce fuel consumption and emmisions are either lying , or being lied to by someone else.


EDIT - I didn't even mention the power required to maintain a vacuum on the vessel housing the flywheels or keep the magnetic bearings running , so that's even more parasitic loss.

This is what makes or breaks the value of a flywheel. There is another savings when steam plants are throttled back when demand drops.
Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:40:29 AM EST
Originally Posted By Out_To_Sea:
they aren't thinking they're going to power the whole town with 20 MW. that's a reserve for when the electric power plant can't put out enough power, they want to avoid brownouts.

no, it doesn't take more energy to keep the flywheels spinning than what they could get back out of them. it should take very little, nothing is pushing them to keep going, there's very little friction, they keep spinning practically on their own until it's time to drain power off them.
as it is right now, they use coal and oil fuel power when they need it to boost power and avoid brownouts. they're saying that using these flywheels to soak up extra power when they can, will replace the coal and oil fueled power.

they said it would keep 12,000 tons of carbon from being released each year, which is the same as burning 20,000 barrels of oil. however, it costs $50,000,000 to build this flywheel farm. if you say oil currently costs $75/barrel, at 20,000 barrels/year it would take 33 years to break even. or say coal power costs 1/2 of oil power (pulling a number out my ass) it would take 66 years to break even. do they want an oldass obsolete flywheel plant? how long are they going to use it? 50 years? 100? I don't think it's worth it.


If the system were 100% thermally efficient(it's not) , the most energy that could ever be retrieved from the system would be equal to the amount of energy required to operate the system. Since the thermal efficiency will only be as high as maybe 90% , for every kW of power used to operate the system , the maximum return would be .90kW , and the actual return will be less than that due to losses outside the system.
Yes , it will require more energy to operate the system than can ever be retrieved from it. This is 100% fact , every time. Google "law of conservation of energy" and "thermal efficiency of a generator". I ain't bullshitting.

Link Posted: 6/14/2009 6:45:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By LOW2000:
So where does extra electricity "go" now when its unused. Its a closed loop system right? Is it all lost to heat and transmission losses?


If I understand power operations correctly, it is lost as heat. I could be way off, but I vaguely recall that powerplants have large radiator installations for this exact purpose. Correct me if I'm out of my mind here but I'm going back 10 years in memory.
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