A mechanical engineers team from University of Alberta recently came up with a concept that incorporates old technology into solution of present day problems. The flywheel happens to b a mechanical tool for energy storage through a rotating disk. Engineers show that usage of flywheel technology can help in cost and energy saving up to quite an extent if it is correctly applied to light train transit (LRT) in Alberta. By definition, flywheels is a spinning disk that can store kinetic energy as the rotor or flywheel rotates around core axis. Rotational energy of this type can be then turned into electrical energy in vacuum with magnetic bearings for levitation of rotor. In this way, the rotor loses very less energy making flywheels more effective just like mechanical batteries.
The engineers tested the application of flywheel technology to the LRT for energy storage that is generated when frequent passengers of trains stop. LRT based trains are loaded with dynamic braking that makes use of traction motors over train wheels that permits smooth stoppage. The deceleration of train leads to generation of energy, however, presently a large part of it goes wasted. Researcher Marc Secanell asks, “Electric and fuel cell vehicles already implement regenerative braking in order to store the energy produced during braking for start-up, so why would trains not be able to do so?”
The flywheel proposal is dated to view storage of braking energy has mechanical energy inside the flywheels that are to be installed every other station. Whenever the train is ready for leaving, the flywheels mechanical energy can be converted back to power that will lighten up the train. A team member, Pierre Mertiny, adds, “It’s difficult to use a conventional battery for this purpose. You need to recharge and discharge a lot of energy very quickly. Batteries don’t last long under those conditions.” However, flywheels do not have any such flaw, These additionally offer an appealing potential savings in the budget of city’s public transit. Mertiny says, “The city of Hannover in Germany is already testing flywheel technology for just this purpose. They have banks of flywheels at each station to capture and re-use the electricity generated when their trains come into the station.”
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