The paper presents a novel configuration of an axial hybrid magnetic bearing (AHMB) for the suspension of steel flywheels applied in power-intensive energy storage systems. The combination of a permanent magnet (PM) with excited coil enables one to reduce the power consumption, to limit the system volume, and to apply an effective control in the presence of several types of disturbances. The electromagnetic design of the AHMB parts is carried out by parametric finite element analyses with the purpose to optimize the force performances as well as the winding inductance affecting the electrical supply rating and control capability. Such investigation considers both the temperature dependence of the PM properties and the magnetic saturation effects. The electrical parameters and the force characteristics are then implemented in a control scheme, reproducing the electromechanical behavior of the AHMB-flywheel system. The parameter tuning of the controllers is executed by a Matlab/Simulink code, examining the instantaneous profiles of both the air-gap length and the winding ampere-turns. The results of different dynamic tests are presented, evidencing the smooth air-gap changes and the optimized coil utilization, which are desirable features for a safe and efficient flywheel energy storage.
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