A weighted 9" disc spins at 60,000 rpm, who's surface is traveling twice the speed of sound, may just power hybrid vehicles in the near future. British company Ricardo has designed a flywheel energy storage system to use in future hybrid vehicles. The system called Kinergy, stores the energy in breaking into the carbon fibre laced flywheels. The energy stored is then used as a torque assist in accelerating the vehicle. The flywheel is house in a vacuum sealed container and placed on magnetic bushings to reduce all friction to the near zero. A magnetic gearing and coupling mechanism gathers the energy from the flywheel and applies it, with no mechanical contact, to the transmission. Each flywheel produces approximately 30 kW of power from the 4.5 kg discs.
Flybus with Kinergy system, rear cutaway
Currently the Kinergy system is being tested on Flybus buses at airports, with a goal of 20% fuel savings. Another test involved using a Kinergy storage system paired with a Torotrak Continuously Variable Transmission on a Optare Solo bus. The future has Ricardo leading the KinerStor project with a consortium of other companies to bring the Kinergy system to other hybrid vehicles with a goal of 30% efficiency increase.
Flywheels already help regulate large volumes of power, by not in cars too?