Flexible flywheels could put positive spin on energy storage


Kickstarter has become a great tool for small companies looking to gain funding to advance projects both big and small. One such company using this public cash-raising medium is San Francisco, California based Velkess Energy Storage. Velkess is developing a new type of energy storage flywheel technology that could be used to compliment intermittent solar and wind power generation as well as to boost efficiency of older transmission lines.

How does it work? Velkess is hoping its patent pending flexible flywheel rotor, which emulates the motion of a cowboy’s lasso and gains stability as it rotates according to the company, will capture and store power and release it more effectively when needed. Therefore Velkess’ flywheel is positioned well if it can prove proof of concept since the knock on solar and wind is really the lack of reliability of both power sources.

Flywheels have been around for over a century but a flexible flywheel may turn some heads. In fact, Velkess claims the flexible flywheel technology can replace many lead acid batteries used in off-grid solar systems, be twice as efficient, last three to five times longer and be considerably cheaper.

The upshot of Velkess’ proposal is it is aiming to fill a market void of energy storage solutions that are cost effective and which can compete with batteries. So a new dawn could be coming for energy storage. Therefore Velkess’ flywheel may be another spoke of reliability the energy storage market desperately needs. The downside for Velkess it is a very small player competing amongst some rather stealth competitors such as Beacon Power, Active Power, Boeing, Pentadyne, Piller Power Systems and Urenco Power Technologies. One way or another, a flexible rotor may be what’s needed to reinvent the flywheel.

Check out their Kickstarter page here:

Below are video demonstrations:


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John Licata’s insight on some of the emerging issues for energy supply brought an additional dimension to our panel discussion on the future of energy.
Dr. Jonathan Cobb, World Nuclear Association