The world is increasingly turning to renewable energy sources as part of the effort to combat climate change. While they currently only generate around 10% of the world’s energy needs, that figure is rapidly increasing. Many jurisdictions have set ambitious targets to increase that proportion over the coming decades. By 2040, many people can expect to live in areas where the overwhelming majority, if not all, of their energy comes from renewables.
However, renewables are faced with challenges. It is not a viable energy source without robust energy storage solutions. When the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing, something must continue to address the energy demand. Batteries have been the primary method of addressing this concern. However, they also create some difficulties of their own. The production of batteries involves carbon intensive processes such as mining and oftentimes, harmful disposal practices for chemical waste. Flywheel energy storage has thus started to emerge as a more environmentally friendly alternative and Amber Kinetics is one of the pioneers of this technology.
The ability of flywheels to store energy has long been known. Even something as simple as a spinning top demonstrates the principle. The initial power input is held in the top and gradually discharged as it spins. The same principle is used for flywheel energy storage. However, it will spin at exceptionally high speed, utilise partial vacuums and magnetic bearings to minimise friction and maximise their efficiency.
Amber Kinetics flagship product, the M32 flywheel, offers a scalable energy storage solution and has been installed around the world for various applications while demonstrating its effectiveness and reliability. Each M32 unit has a power capacity of 8kW and a discharge duration of four hours. Their installations include the ‘Roof of the World’ in Tibet, where the flywheels are installed alongside a remote, high-altitude solar farm. With minimal operations and maintenance requirements for the units, flywheels are a reliable and suitable choice even for areas with harsh weather conditions.
On the other side of the world, Amber Kinetics and Elemental Excelerator partnered with Hawaiian Electric Company to install the flywheel energy storage system in Hawaii. The storage system successfully met the standards for reliability, helping to smooth production during the day and providing energy storage for consistent power at night. With the growing importance of clean energy, Amber Kinetics provides a promising and sustainable energy storage solution through its flywheel technology.