My understanding of flywheels is this: It is basically a capacitor that works by having its rotor spun via electrical or mechnical power. That spinning rotor essentially stores the eletrical energy as mechanical energy. Trinity Flywheel already has a product. They describe their product as a mechanism for smooth transmission of energy, but what I'm talking about is more along the lines of storage. Now that I've researched it more, it seems a little less practical for long term storage I'm sorry to say. I was thinking that windpower could possibly store its energy in flywheels for long term storage, when, and if the winds die down. This would avoid the chemical breakdown that occurs in rechargeable batteries where any breakdown in the flywheels could be fixed mechnically thus used for a much longer period of time. (Inicidently, however, flywheels can be constructed so that they float on a cushion of magnetic energy, hense no friction, and less "wear and tear".) This stored energy would be used as a contingency, as I've said, with another windpower device, or possibly a portion of routed curret, to be used to grow the food in the food production tents. I have some engineer friends that I will email who may be able to give me some more information on the feasibility of a long term storage device. I have the feeling that it would probably be too expensive and very massive, but, who knows?
Offered by Ted.
Concerning using flywheels as storage vs. batteries. Some of the concepts are still "speculative" but one company does have something for sale today. The Beacon Flywheel weighs 150 lbs., rotates at 20,000 rpm and sits inside a big cylinder that resembles a squat 55 gallon oil drum with a rounded top and bottom and you can buy one right now for about $15,000. "It should last 20 years" says Saliba "and you shouldn't have to service it for six or seven. We just put a foot or two of dirt on top of it, switch it on and walk away." They also expect the price to drop by a factor of 4 (to approximately $4,000) within 2 years as production gears up. I believe the article said it supplies a kilowatt of power for 2 hours.
Offered by John.
This result is at the best about $2,000/Kilowatt-hr for 20 years. If batteries were used and it's cost is between $100-200/kilowatt-hr, then we are talking the cost of a battery change every year or two. Batteries should typically last longer than this. Also, if these things are spinning when the pole shift happens, I believe they could be damaged with the sharp jolts. I think for the foreseeable future stock piling batteries to be more cost effective. There may even be better ways to store electrical energy. It should be noted that this technology is getting close to being cost effective and it bares keeping an eye on.
Offered by Mike.