AFS Trinity Power New Mobile `ARC' Flywheel Patent Announced Today
Pushes High-Performance Truck, Bus and Auto Hybrids Closer to Reality Technology Also Advances Fuel Cell, Microturbine, Solar and Other Alternative Energy Systems
SEATTLE--June 12, 2002-- Higher-performance hybrid cars, trucks and buses took an important step closer to reality with the announcement today of a new flywheel technology and the award of a patent for the technology to AFS Trinity Power Corporation from the United States Patent Office. Initially, the technology is expected to be used in second-generation flywheel/diesel hybrid trucks and buses as well as in flywheel/solar energy momentum (EMW) systems in satellites and spacecraft.
Ultimately, the new technology -- a flywheel within a flywheel -- is expected to make possible two key functions in both automobile and stationary power systems that utilize fuel cells and/or microturbines. The problem is that fuel cells and microturbines are constant power output devices, which means they can't speed up fast enough for initial acceleration or passing and have to idle at full power. Because constant power is produced whether it is needed or not, much of it is necessarily wasted in a stop-and-go situation.
The new flywheel solves both problems by storing energy until needed and then releasing it on demand. It also makes it possible to eliminate heavier, less reliable lead acid batteries and, if desired, to disconnect from the power grid entirely in distributed generation stationary alternative energy applications.
According to AFS Trinity Power Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edward W. Furia, the breakthrough of the new technology is its ability to overcome an old flywheel problem -- how to manage very high speed, lightweight energy storage rotors without making the total flywheel package so heavy that it is impractical for smaller vehicles. Simply put, the new technology -- called the "ARC" flywheel (for Active Rotating Containment) -- uses a slower, heavier rotating outer flywheel to contain a much faster, lighter inner flywheel. The result is more power per pound, more efficient energy transfer and a neutral gyroscopic effect, which will allow vehicular operation without having to use counter-rotating pairs of separate flywheel systems.
"All other flywheel systems utilize containments that act as dead weight in the system. Our ARC flywheel system's outer rim is designed not only to contain the inner flywheel, it is also a working energy storage component itself. The result will be a dramatic increase in specific energy for the whole system. In other words, you can expect the total energy stored per pound of total system weight to be dramatically higher in the AFS Trinity ARC flywheel."
Furia said that AFS Trinity expects that other long-awaited uses for advanced flywheels will also be made possible with the help of this new technology, including lighter spacecraft reaction wheels that perform double duty as batteries, portable UPS (uninterruptible power supplies), load following submersible energy storage systems and other critical mobile power and energy storage applications for civilian and military applications.
AFS Trinity Power Corporation is a private company that was formed in December 2000 through the combination of American Flywheel Systems, Inc. (AFS) and Trinity Flywheel Power (Trinity). The Company holds the world's leading body of flywheel power technologies. In 1992, the company was granted the first patent for a flywheel battery, and now holds, is applying for or has disclosures for more than 25 additional patents.
After developing technologies for NASA, DARPA and other government-sponsored programs, the company has begun taking orders for new civilian power tech products which will play a pivotal role in the UPS and distributed generation industry. The Company recently won a $1 million grant from the U.S. DOT for first-generation hybrid truck and bus applications and has active contracts with NASA/Lockheed and U.S. DOE/Sandia.