Save electricity with momentum

The efficient and optimised use of electricity generated from renewable energies calls for an appropriate form of storage. In the new flywheel energy storage units (EnWheel) from the Jülich-based company Stornetic, the KEB COMBIVERT F6 drive controllers control the energy flow together with specially developed sine-wave filters. Leitmarkt Agentur NRW has achieved this task with the help of the EU-funded Quirinus project, which focuses on developing sustainable security of supply. This is ensured by high and efficient system stability in increasingly decentralised generation plants that feed their power into the grid on a fluctuating basis.

The surplus energy is stored in electrochemical storage systems (LiIon/SuperCap) or as kinetic energy in flywheels. These forms of storage are particularly attractive in order to absorb peak loads and thus keep the supply network constant. Flywheel energy storage units (Fig. 1) are particularly suitable for ensuring consistent capacity over many charge and discharge cycles. Stornetic develops and produces storage systems of this kind with DuraStor®.



Stornetic_construction.pngFig. 1: Stornetic construction of a flywheel energy storage unit (EnWheel)
© STORNETIC - The Energy Storage Company

In the event of an energy surplus, the EnWheel accelerates an active magnetically mounted carbon-fibre rotor up to 45,000 revolutions per minute. The drive is disabled for interim storage of rotational energy (IDLE mode). Since the rotor rotates freely in a vacuum, there are virtually zero friction losses. If energy is required, the drive synchronises to the rotating rotor and feeds the “braking energy” back into the network.
In addition to shutdown and synchronisation on the rotating rotor, the cooling of the motor with low heat transfer in the vacuum is one of the particular challenges.

In the new generation of flywheel energy storage units, KEB COMBIVERT F6 drive controllers function in combination with specially developed sine-wave filters to control the energy flows in the flywheel energy storage units. The efficiency optimisation in the overall system is based on an ideally tailored package consisting of a drive controller, sine-wave filter and synchronous motor in the EnWheel with minimised harmonic content (THD) and therefore the lowest electrical losses on the rotor side of the drive.

The Speed Search function, which is further optimised by its use in the F6 Drive Controller, is responsible for the load application and release of the flywheel rotor in “IDLE Mode”, which ensures an immediate connection to the rotating rotor up to maximum speed. Due to the possible load release in “IDLE mode”, the complete switching losses of the IGBTs in the drive controller are eliminated for yet another contribution to better energy utilisation.

Fields of application are increasingly created by the conception of “microgrids” to compensate for peak loads and thus the stabilisation of local grids.


Further details on flywheel energy storage units can be found at