Data Center World: Flywheel UPS Demonstration

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Marton Olsen from Active Power gives a brief demonstration of the company’s flywheel UPS system at the Data Center World expo in Las Vegas on April 1, 2008.

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26 comments

  • NASA was going to have FlyWheels on the ISS; but went with batteries -YUK.  And the Allen Data Center by Cisco on YouTube has Horizonal FlyWheel on the Diesel Generators.  And the YouTube videos for Data Centers have the back up power starting every two weeks and fuel stored for two weeks.  The fuel trucks can always bring more fuel !

    Hope to have a UPS by Tripp Lite for my home computer soon.  The utility trimed the trees last year; so not so many brief outages.  Just need the UPS to shut down gracefully if outage longer than five minutes.

    Thankyou and keep up the good work, tjl  Sent by Win7Pro64  w/ADSL

  • So now it's mid 2013, I guess these flywheel systems never caught on? I have worked with the admins and building engineers, they don't have much of a sense of humor about this kind of thing.

  • I wanna see that Diesel Generator that starts up, revs up and puts the Generator to load within 15s… and if it takes 17s for whatever reason because fuel temp is 2° low, the datacenter is down

  • Seems like you have serious mental problems. See the doctor ASAP!

  • I think you would have a tough time convincing some datacenter owners to place their reliance on 15 seconds of power. If you could beef up that flywheel and get at least 1 minute of power, that gives you a little better window to recover via generator.

  • bateries for cars, flywheels an fuel cells for energy storage, how dificult is to get that ???

  • @cdzieciolandmisie "that's been sitting for a year or two"
    Someone has been cutting corners again.
    A mission critical generator should be run tested once a week.

  • Sometimes, that 5 minutes of backup makes all the difference in customer power failure. Flywheel depends entirely on the system automatically kicking over to generator power. Anything that could possibly make that fail and require manual intervention makes the flywheel system useless.

  • @Waynebarkr Yeah but what happens when something happens the switchgear doesn't like that requires manual intervention, say abnormal utility power, and it doesn't switch? Or a generator fails to come up? These things can and do happen.

  • a 300kw diesel generator that's been sitting for a year or two takes about a minute of cranking to start up. 15 seconds of power just won't do the trick

  • can you explain that last part

  • apc is not very happy with these vid i assume

  • wow thanx for the explanation

  • What frictional losses? Modern flywheels have a spin-down time measured in Years! NASA has many such flywheels, suspended by magnetic bearings in a vacuum. Look up NASA's G2 flywheel.

  • This fly wheel is pretty small! The ones we had in my sister plant were the size of VW beetles. My plant had battery backup UPS. Yes, 0-batts equal less floor space. but, what happens if the genset don't auto-start initially? Where is the 20-minute battery buffer for T-shooting the genset? This is great if everything works right. But in an emergency nothing works right, thats why its called an emergency outage.
    Just in time back up power.
    I must be getting old because I don't trust this.

  • And yes, we use straight AC-to-AC from the grid to the data center. There is no double-conversion as found in battery-based UPS systems (AC-to-DC-to-AC) so we don't get the heat loss and loss of energy. And there is no 'whiplash effect' in a flywheel-based UPS.

  • We have one of these units powering our data center. It has been in place since 2002 with a 750 kW generator. We have not had an issue with startup and have not had to supplement it with batteries. It has taken over 250 power events from the grid since it was installed with no effect on the protected equipment. Our UPS has a GenStart unit so the flywheel starts the generator if the UPS detects a loss of grid power.

    The $1,000,000 savings coupled with its 7+ year track record speaks for itself.

  • Thanks, now I understand, 250kW for 15 sec. is 1,041 kWh. That is not much energy 🙁

  • Not 200KW of energy, its 250KW of POWER for 15 seconds, which equals to 1.04KWh of recoverable energy in that flywheel. His 98% efficiency claim is vague. Is it AC in to AC out efficiency? That's very unlikely. Also, he did not mention friction losses over time. This thing may actually use more energy to stand by rather than battery based UPS. With lithium nano-phosphate batteries, you can get 250KW of power for 2 MINUTES using only about 15 KWh battery pack with much better system efficiency.

  • did he say 200 kW on this one wheel? that is a lot of energy

  • i don't know what you just said

  • Clearly the best solution is to limit your thresholds to the second instead of those extending to ten fold the typical threshold of batteries. Proper research validates my points above your conjecture.

  • >"15 seconds is not a reliable amount of time for a generator to start"

    then use 2 of them for 30 seconds, or 4 of them for a minute, whatever you need.

    Your complaint could be used exactly the same for batteries: "oh one battery only gives you X amount of power" – well that's why we use more than one battery in a system.
    And just the same: you can use more than one flywheel in a system.

  • 15 seconds is not a reliable amount of time for a generator to start, it becomes many times more impractical if you involve any kind of generator paralleling gear. Flywheels should really only be used in addition to battery based systems.

  • Put me down for 4 my good man.

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