With researchers over the globe battling to bring down the cost of wind and solar electricity with innovative wind turbines and highly efficient solar panels, the last piece of the equation, which is energy storage, plays a critical role in reducing the overall cost of clean electricity. Since the sun doesn’t shine all day nor does the wind blow continuously, storing all the energy generated when available for use when needed, requires energy storage systems, which currently cost a lot. As a solution to the problem of finding cheap energy storage systems, engineer Bill Gray has come up with the Velkess.
The Velkess is a low-cost flywheel energy storage system that can easily replace conventional lead-acid batteries used in solar power plants around the world. While flywheels have been in use for over 100 year and have proved to be among the highest performing energy storage technologies ever developed, they have suffered one fatal flow – high cost. Velkess on the other hand is a highly affordable energy storage flywheel that costs half of conventional energy storage systems and performs three-five times better.
The flywheel is designed to be manufactured using readily available, low-cost, non-toxic and completely recyclable materials. The flywheel is flexible and works much like a cowboy’s lasso. The flexible system embraces the natural dynamics of the rotor and redirects stray energies into stabilizing counter forces. The team behind the Velkess has already built a few prototypes to prove their point, but they are now on KickStarter to raise enough funds to better the design with the inclusion of some more energy-efficient storage systems.