A review of flywheel energy storage technology was made, with a special focus on the progress in automotive applications. We found that there are at least 26 university research groups and 27 companies contributing to flywheel technology development. Flywheels are seen to excel in high-power applications, placing them closer in functionality to supercapacitors than to batteries. Examples of flywheels optimized for vehicular applications were found with a specific power of 5.5 kW/kg and a specific energy of 3.5 Wh/kg. Another flywheel system had 3.15 kW/kg and 6.4 Wh/kg, which can be compared to a state-of-the-art supercapacitor vehicular system with 1.7 kW/kg and 2.3 Wh/kg, respectively. Flywheel energy storage is reaching maturity, with 500 flywheel power buffer systems being deployed for London buses (resulting in fuel savings of over 20%), 400 flywheels in operation for grid frequency regulation and many hundreds more installed for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) applications. The industry estimates the mass-production cost of a specific consumer-car flywheel system to be 2000 USD. For regular cars, this system has been shown to save 35% fuel in the U.S. Federal Test Procedure (FTP) drive cycle.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited