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Kinetic Energy Storage Enhances Plants’ Capacities

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Our electricity needs are becoming more and more complex, and the diversifying applications in plants are looking for solutions that will ensure reliable uninterrupted power. Battery backup solutions have long been present, but they bring certain challenges. First of all, their bulky volume takes up the property and they are also high-maintenance, requiring an environment with controlled temperature. Their life expectancy is sensitive to how often they are cycled and even the slightest temperature changes, which often results in a shorter lifespan than predicted. Plants with frequent interruptions know this all too well.

 Quantum Energy Storage Application - Transmission and Distribution Support

Plant managers are turning towards kinetic energy storage system as a clean and dependable alternative to battery-based uninterruptible power systems. Kinetic energy storage system is also known as quantum energy storage system and the technology is often referred to as flywheel. Whether kinetic energy storage system is introduced in a new structure or it’s a retrofit, it maximizes the facility and process continuity while simultaneously reducing operative costs. On top of being able to smooth out power sags and peaks, it is an ecologically friendly solution.  

The Technology in a Nutshell

Flywheel is a mechanical storage system which transforms electrical energy into kinetic energy by rotating a certain mass at a very high speed. The energy is stored until necessary and its amount is determined by the mass and the number of rotations.

The advantages of flywheel technology are copious. The flywheel doesn’t require any special facility placement and it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures during operation. It has high power density with a small footprint. This quiet solution involves simple maintenance and installation and allows for future expansion of the system. It responds very quickly (in less than 50 milliseconds) and it can have seismic rating options. The total ownership cost for flywheel technology is low, especially when you take into account that its efficiency of more than 85% will serve for 20+ years.  

Energy Recycling 

Energy is recycled when the energy which would be wasted is converted into usable electricity or thermal energy. Common recycling technologies in use are combined heat and power generation and waste heat recovery, among others. However, kinetic energy storage system can bring similar efficiency while being much more cost-effective. 

The U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency have carried out studies showing that energy recycling could satisfy almost 40% of our energy needs, whereas one third of that recycling can be done through kinetic energy storage system. Other energy storage systems, such as ultracapacitators and batteries also have advantages, but flywheel technology undoubtedly has most overall benefits.  

Power Quality 

Kinetic energy storage system is an ideal solution for industrial plant when combined with a UPS. Its high power density property with a small footprint protects perfectly against disturbances like voltage spikes and blackouts. In all that time, flywheels can tolerate temperatures up to 60 degrees Celsius for around 20 years, whereas batteries are sensitive to temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius.

Repetitive Industrial Applications 

Pulse power applications like punch presses and auto-insertion equipment require continual high power bursts from the grid. This is usually paid through premiums that guarantee the availability of such power feed. With a rapid response time of under 50 milliseconds, a flywheel goes on cycling with high power bursts. Batteries can also shave peaks but at the expense of valuable space and equipment size. 

Flywheel Energy Storage System Stabilizes Solar Fluctuations

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Quantum Energy Storage System Application - Renewable Smoothing

Solar has overgrown its hype. The collapsing prices of installing photovoltaic panels, together with various incentives, has produced a boom in residential and business PV systems. However, the line of development isn’t a soaring incline. Solar capacity is undeniably growing, but the absolute capacity is quite below conventional generation. 

What’s holding the progress back? Storage. 

Conventional generation power plants can (for now) secure a continuous feed of fuel. They keep coal, gas and uranium isotopes coming in. That’s the precondition of having a commercial power plant. 

But, as nature would have it, solar isn’t a constant and continuous source of energy, even though it is boundless. That’s the paradox. Clouds hide the sun or night falls. 

To have a reliable electric grid the demand and supply have to be in balance, otherwise the voltage will fluctuate or worse. 

Quantum Energy Storage Application - Voltage Support

Ways to overcome this problem are being explored. One option is to deal with the electricity grid itself. That’s what is meant under “smart” grids – these are trying to eliminate gaps in the supply and demand for electricity. 

Another path is addressing the storage. Storage allows for excess generation which is above the natural rate to be captured and spread evenly throughout the day. Among others, lithium-ion batteries can achieve this effect. 

So, that’s it then. Not really. There are problems with batteries. One of them is they are expensive, even though their cost is on the decline. The other is they wear with cycles because of the chemical reactions they work on. For that reason they can last up to around 5 years. And lastly, they are not environmentally friendly. Why try to harness solar energy if you are going to pollute the environment immensely along the way?  Citi

Flywheel storage system is the most promising answer so far to the problem of storage. It’s essentially a mechanical battery, a rotating disc mounted on a shaft. It converts electricity in kinetic energy and stores it until it’s needed. When the demand for the stored energy arises, the flywheel slows down, converts the energy back into electrical and delivers it in a very fast response. 

It’s also environmentally friendly and much more durable in comparison with lithium-ion batteries. And Quantum Energy Storage Corp’s flywheel design is also eco-friendly, as it’s made of recycled components that can be further recycled when the flywheel is taken apart. 

Flywheel storage system’s ability to absorb shocks and provide energy injections is believed to be the best avenue to resolve the issue of intermittent solar energy supplies. 

US Marine Corp Showcases Quantum Energy Storage’s Novel Kinetic Energy Storage System for Microgrids

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Long duration kinetic energy storage proves its worth at Marine Base

In 2013, the US Marine Corp was awarded $1.7 million from the California Energy Commission for a microgrid demonstration project.  Quantum Energy Storage, with its advanced kinetic energy storage system, provides the critical energy storage asset to enable multiple microgrid applications.

The project, which is built upon CleanSpark’s FractalGrid platform, creates a network of smaller microgrids, that services an area of the base including military personnel housing, parking garage lighting, elevators, and a server room, within a larger microgrid that covers the base and can island from the utility grid. Distributed assets include solar PV, diesel generators, batteries and the first test of the innovative kinetic energy storage technology from Quantum Energy Storage.

"This project will evaluate new and emerging technologies in a real-world environment while providing reliable and secure energy to the military base," Energy Commission Chair Robert Weisenmiller said at the time of the funding in 2013.

The military base microgrid is testing Quantum Energy’s 60-kilowatt, 120-kilowatt-hour kinetic energy storage system. The system’s long lifetime design, over 50,000 cycles without degradation, can provide storage benefits for over 25 years. This is far longer than battery systems, which degrade over time.  In addition, Quantum Energy’s technology encompasses 100% recyclable materials, which is an added benefit compared to batteries that use hazardous chemicals.

Quantum’s kinetic energy storage system is accompanied by its proprietary software platform that monitors and controls the system. In addition, the platform can readily be integrated with other distributed energy resources, including renewable generation from photovoltaic, wind, and tidal sources, and can also control energy flow to and from the grid.

Quantum Energy Storage System Mode - Solar Renewable Integration

A storage system for all applications

Most kinetic energy storage systems are in the business of providing grid services to utilities on the multi-megawatt scale, primarily frequency regulation, but Quantum Energy sees many other applications for its technology.

For developing countries, Quantum Energy provides its system as backup power during rolling blackouts, and also provides voltage support. It may not necessarily supplant diesel backup, but rather reduce the reliance on diesel as much as 40%.

“Storage has gained increasing traction as isolated communities move to diversify away from conventional generation and reduce costs associated with fuel price uncertainty and transportation logistics,” says Omar Saadeh, senior analyst with GTM Research and author of the recent report, North American Microgrids 2015: Advancing Beyond Local Energy Optimization.

Quantum Energy has been testing its ability to provide long-term backup power at the military base, providing an average of 10 hours of backup power overnight for the microgrid. During the day, it provides power for such things as elevators that draws substantial power, to reduce peaks to its energy system. The storage technology can also provide grid balancing and power factor correction in future applications. For places like islands with high power prices (close to $0.40 cents per kWh), the payback for Quantum Energy’s system is about three to five years when replacing diesel generators. 

Quantum Energy Storage Corporation is led by Tien Nguyen, formerly of Qualcomm, CommASIC, and most recently, On-Ramp Wireless. Dr. Hari Dharan, formerly of Ford Motor Company, Space Systems Loral, and a University of California, Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering Professor, is the Chief Technology Officer.

Battery degradation issues push GE to focus on the entire energy storage system

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Batteries have always had degradation issues and the best way to make them economical for grid level storage is to maximize their benefits to the grid before they lose all their charging power.  Due to this shortened lifetime, GE is starting to focus on the entire energy storage system to optimize battery usage and efficiency. According to Reuters:

GE over the past year has overhauled its approach to the energy storage market, as it saw weaker demand for the battery it developed.
Now Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE is repositioning itself as a one-stop shop for power producers seeking to install energy storage systems, offering inverters, control systems, software as well as financing options.

QESC, on the other hand, has already developed a long lifetime energy storage solution without degradation, and QESC has an integrated energy storage system ready for installation.  QESC's technology can provide over 50,000 cycles with their kinetic energy storage system.  In addition, the system includes inverters, integration with customer electric systems, and financing options.  The entire system maximizes economic benefits for the customer from day one, and it will last well beyond a battery equivalent system.

The Reuters article can be found here.


QESC's Technology Showcased at Realcomm's IBCon Conference

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The Camp Pendleton FractalGrid Demonstration Project was presented at Realcomm's Intelligent Building's Conference (IBCon) on June 9 in San Antonio, TX.  Here is a description of QESC's technology.

Utilizing innovative advanced energy storage that can handle up to six full charge/discharge cycles a day for up to 50,000 cycles (with a 25 yr. minimum warranty), essential loads are supported for a set minimum number of days utilizing renewable resources and traditional backup power systems.

In the article Jim Young, Realcomm's Co-Founder and CEO, mentioned:

The result was possibly the most advanced microgrid / smart building project in the world, which generated 140% of the required electricity for the project.

The project article can be found here.


QESC's Presenation at CEC Meeting

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QESC's CEO, Tien Nguyen, alongside partner Cleanspark's CEO, Michael E. Firenze, presented at CEC's Community Scale Renewable Energy Development, Deployment and Integration Meeting.  The audience was quite impressed with the advanced energy storage system and microgrid.  This presentation showcased the Camp Pendleton FractalGrid Demonstration.

The presentation is here.

The key economic factor for QESC's energy storage system is the very low capital cost per cycle when compared to other energy storage technologies. This comparison is shown in the chart below. 

Quantum Energy Storage Flywheel Advantage

QESC's technology is 0.06 to 0.15 cents per cycle, while the next cheapest storage manufacturing cost is about 2.0 cents per cycle.