First flywheel hybrid energy storage plant in Europe is opened

Posted: December 12, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation

Irish transmission lines [image credit:]

Irish transmission line [image credit:]

Nothing about costs, but let’s see how this demonstration project goes. The technology has already been tried in cars.

Europe’s first flywheel hybrid energy storage plant has been officially launched in Ireland, reports PEI.

The plant in Rhode, County Offaly, is owned and operated by Irish energy company Schwungrad Energie and is expected to enter a test operational phase in February.

The Rhode hybrid demo project comprises two Beacon Power 160 kW flywheels and Hitachi Chemical valve-regulated lead acid batteries of up to 240 kW. The plant will have a maximum import capacity of 400 kVA and maximum export capacity of 422 kVA when completed.

Schwungrad says that the flywheel system has very high cycling ability and can rapidly absorb short-term excess grid energy and generate energy as needed by grid operators.

The company adds that the batteries can provide energy over longer durations but have more limited cycling capabilities. The hybrid flywheel will assist in disruption mitigation, during times of unexpected demand or sudden changes in energy supply/demand.

Schwungrad developed the hybrid power storage system in collaboration with the Department of Physics & Energy at the University of Limerick and will work with the Irish transmissions system operator to connect the plant to the grid as a demonstration project under Ireland’s Smart Grid Programme.

Source: First flywheel hybrid energy storage plant in Europe is opened | Power Engineering International

Manufacturer’s 28-second video included here

  1. oldbrew says:

    The makers say: ‘Proving the technology in commercial operation in Ireland will provide a springboard to roll out across Europe and potentially worldwide’

    They’re going to need a lot of batteries to do that.

    Video says: ‘results in fewer brownouts’. Well that’s reassuring :/

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    160+400 = 422?

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    160 + 240 = 422?

    Nothing wrong with the idea, but some estimate of costs would be useful. Also the scalability aspect.

  4. ivan says:

    The plant will have a maximum import capacity of 400 kVA and maximum export capacity of 422 kVA when completed. my bold.

    Perpetual motion?

  5. oldbrew says:

    two Beacon Power 160 kW flywheels

    ‘maximum import capacity of 400 kVA and maximum export capacity of 422 kVA’

    Not at the same time.

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    thanks for the correction. Teach me to look closely at the small print with these “new” world saving ideas.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    The import / export can be thought of as “charge rate” and “discharge rate”.

    The bigger issue I see is they state kVA but not kVA-hours.

    So it takes a big surge. For 10 seconds, or 5 days?

    Also omits internal charge / discharge loss rates and self discharge loss for the batteries.

  8. ivan says:

    @E.M.Smith, exactly.

    There is so much missing information and things they are NOT telling us, including setup and operational costs that it prompted my ‘perpetual motion’ comment.

  9. oldbrew says:

    The batteries won’t be cheap. One company says:

    ‘The global energy storage market is growing, from $200 million in 2012, to more than $23 billion by 2020.’
    See more at:

    According to a Moody’s report called “Batteries Charge Up for the Electric Grid”:
    ‘Commercial and industrial use of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage could become economically viable in the next three to five years if the decline in battery prices persists.’–PR_335274

    So it’s not ‘economically viable’ now, presumably meaning storage with lead-acid batteries isn’t either.

  10. Bloke down the pub says:

    The US navy have been developing this sort of thing for their new carrier, USS Gerald Ford. Because the catapults are electromagnetic rather than steam powered, they need to store energy and then release it quickly.

  11. Fanakapan says:

    So what we have here is a Heath Robinson affair that attempts to present itself as a solution for the inability of ‘Renewables’ to produce anything near the steady supply that a power grid needs ?

    If we were living in a world where hydrocarbons were actually running out, an emergency requiring the development of novel, if uneconomic, methods to produce the power that modern life requires, then this might be a runner.

    As things stand, and with the fracking potential that seems to be available, then its just another crowd attempting to get money out of the G’s purse, in order to develop a system that makes no economic sense beyond its current application to motor transport 🙂

  12. oldbrew says:

    Fanakapan: it’s ‘a system that makes no economic sense’ designed to improve another ‘system that makes no economic sense’ i.e. wind turbines.

    Nonsense squared 😉