According to the excellent website livepopulation.com there are currently 7,551,533,461 human beings living on earth (actually 6 fewer due to a handful of astronauts being on the international space station). That’s up from 1 billion just over 200 years ago, 2 billion in the late 1920s and up from 7 billion just 7 years ago.
Of course, the boom in global population is causing increasing challenges for humanity, not least in the form of energy demand. This is being further exasperated as countries get richer and require more power for things such as industry, household appliances and consumer goods. Analysts at the International Energy Agency are forecasting a 62% increase in global power generation between 2017 and 2040, the vast majority of which will come from developing countries.
While there are answers to the growing power needs another problem is that electricity is one of the most perishable goods, it needing to be consumed or stored effectively as soon as it is generated. Predicting when someone will flick on a switch or plug in a device is an impossible task, which makes balancing the grid (matching the supply of energy to demand) a difficult and expensive task.
Currently, one of the most common ways of storing energy is in the chemical battery. However, these often take a long time to recharge, have limited capacities and create problems from the mining and disposal of their contained elements. The challenge is therefore to find alternative ways of storing energy in a sustainable energy storage solution.
One such method is via a flywheel, one of the world’s oldest methods of storing energy. A flywheel is a mechanical device specifically designed to efficiently store rotational energy – in the form of kinetic energy. Flywheels are useful in that they can help to smooth out ripples in power output, providing surges of high power output as required and absorbing surges of high power input. Now combined with modern electronics and materials, flywheels can offer an alternative with virtually zero environmental impact, during and after their operation lifetime.
One company looking to exploit its own flywheel technology is OXTO Energy. OXTO has developed and patented a new flywheel energy storage device that will deliver safe, scalable storage at a competitive cost, with high energy density and low physical footprint. The flywheel stores kinetic energy in a vacuum in the form of a rotating mass, then it converts it back into electricity using an efficient switching mechanism. Its innovative power electronics allow alternating between high power and energy whilst providing fast response, allowing quick switching between load and supply modes.
Unlike alternative energy storage solutions, OXTO‘s flywheel has an approximate +25 year lifetime and can be built with readily available materials. Other advantages include increased charge cycle capabilities (100,000+ compared to 5,000-10,000 for batteries), full output within 20ms of signal and no hazardous chemicals or fire hazards. OXTO’s flywheels can be produced as 65kW modules, for a wide variety of applications.
For more information and to invest in the OXTO pitch CLICK HERE