Re: Now the Bay Area rolling blackouts begin...

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Thu Jan 18 2001 - 09:01:20 MST

Chuck Kuecker wrote:

> At 07:38 PM 1/17/01 -0500, you wrote:
> >My idea is to have large flywheels, say the size of a water softener or air
> >conditioner. The flywheel are pretty heavy, maybe a couple hundred pounds,
> >and are self-contained. Perhaps they would have to be mounted to the
> >foundation of the building if they would ever hold very large amounts of
> >power. So, throughout the year as power is available the flywheel draws power
> >and accelerates. Perhaps it is magnetically levitated on superconductor so
> >there is no friction inside the machine. So, the flywheel builds to a high
> >level of power, and when there is any power outage, then it automatically
> >compensates by slowing itself. If nanotechnology is available, then one
> >monolothic flywheel can instead be many million in a relatively inert human
> >layer physical state. The reason this would be better than a chemical battery
> >or generator are some, although ome renewable power source like a few panels
> >on the roof should also exist.
> >
> >Ross
> Experimental versions have been made. The biggest problem is that energy
> density goes up with the square of the rotational speed - to get the really
> great storage numbers you need million RPM units and above. This requires
> exotic materials for the flywheel rim. (Also, a pretty hard vacuum to spin in!)
> Remember to put all the rotating mass (or as much as possible) at the rim...
> Magnetic suspension bearings are 'de rigeur'. The best way to couple energy
> in and out is to use three - phase induction motor / generator techniques.
> This requires a variable speed driver / inverter system that outputs
> regular house current.
> One experimental power storage version I read about was designed so if the
> filament-wound rotor should fail, it would expand relatively slowly in the
> radial direction and spend its' energy in friction against the housing.
> It's still not pleasant to be near, but at least there's no shrapnel.
> My "dream home" design has a low-speed flywheel (~7200 RPM) driven by a
> three-phase motor off the power lines - not much energy is used to keep it
> spinning - that in turn drives a synchronous generator. Almost perfect
> isolation for brown-outs and dropouts in the main supply line, and in case
> of a blackout, a Diesel generator has ample time to start and speed up
> before the flywheel slows too much...
> All this brings to mind a non-chemical "grenade" described by Dean Ing: a
> miniature flywheel running at some incredible speed - it has a sawtooth
> pattern on it's rim. Encase it in a frangible vacuum housing with a
> mirror-image sawtooth on the inside. The rotor axis is held rigid in the
> "unarmed" state.
> Once it's emplaced, the rotor axis is released - it's retained by magnetic
> bearings in the center as long as no one moves the housing. If the thing IS
> moved, precession causes the rotor and housing to come into rather violent
> contact...
> Chuck Kuecker

I was thinking the flywheel could have six counterrotating smaller wheels around
it. So, when power is added, the the main flywheel is accelerated in one direction
and the support flywheels the other direction. So, if there a power outage, power
is drawn from all of them at once, providing smooth transition and power output.
Also, if the flywheel was levitating in its vacuum above the superconductor, then
power could be drawn directly to slow it to prevent the flywheel from graxing
anything at a high rate of speed.

Your grenage sounds like the weapon in James Bond where the guy has a sawblade on a
whip. Another example from RPG's is the shuriken cannon, where discs of high
strength and edge sharpness are spun to a high speed and launched using
electromagnetic force.

If the battery housing was moved, for example, without some kind of compensation,
then the moving parts might contact, which is an issue. There might be some kind
of ablative material on the normally distant surfaces. That would be another
situation for the autoshutdown with the counterrotating wheels.


Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:
"The best mathematician in the world is Maplev in Ontario."  - Pertti L.

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