The Anonymous Widower

Batteries Or Flywheels?

Hybrid buses and IPEMU trains need some form of energy storage.

Typical systems generally use batteries. Mechanical devices are discussed in this article in Transport Engineer.

Read the article.

October 5, 2015 - Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , ,


  1. I haven’t read the article, but I have read others, and the problem with mechanical energy storage is the hight level of kinetic energy stored in the system, and if this escaped (e.g. flywheel burst or escaped), then the damage could be horrendous. Chemical storage in batteries of fuel storage (hyrocarbons, hydrogen, etc.), although potentially dangerous can be contained safely.
    There was an example a few years ago of an experimental vehical that used contra-rotating, highly balanced flywheels (to avoid gyroscopic effects) running a a vacuum (to virtually eradicate air friction) and connected to a motor/generator (also in the vacuum). The flywheels were spun up to a very high speed using the motor (over a period of time), and then the energy was extracted using the motor as a generator to power motors driving the wheels. I believe the project was abandoned when the issues I mentioned above were considered. Imagine a heavy escaped wheel spinning at 100,000 rpm being let loose in a town!

    Comment by John Wright | October 5, 2015 | Reply

    • I agree with what you say but there is probably a lot of data now, as KERS, which is based on the Torotrak technology, has been used in Formula One for some time.

      Incidentally, I used to work by a machine that had a 93-tonne flywheel to roll copper wire.

      There are several technologies out there and the one that wins, will make a fortune. I’ve bought a few Torotrak shares, in case they win!

      Comment by AnonW | October 5, 2015 | Reply

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