A flywheel can do so much more than just grid balancing.
Most flywheels primarily provide frequency regulation to the utilities, but Quantum Energy sees many other applications for its technology. The company believes that flywheels have the capacity to provide long-term back up power to areas with rolling blackouts. It is even in touch with the government of South Africa to provide it’s system a backup power in Richards Bay, and also to provide voltage support.
“Storage has gained increasing traction as isolated communities move to diversify away from conventional generation and reduce costs associated with fuel price uncertainty and transportation logistics,” says Omar Saadeh, senior analyst with GTM Research and author of the recent report, North American Microgrids 2015: Advancing Beyond Local Energy Optimization.
Quantum Energy has been testing its ability to provide long-term backup power at Pendleton. The company has also developed its own software to monitor and control the flywheel which is running day and night, providing 10 hours of backup power to the parking garage by the night and power to the elevators by the day. These algorithms can be changed based on the needs and parameters such as providing long-term backup power or energy to shave peaks. The company says its flywheel can also provide grid balancing, although it is not performing that function at Pendleton.
The startup has raised about $6 million in funding from private investors and is helmed by Tien Nguyen, formerly of Qualcomm and CommASIC and most recently with On Ramp Wireless.
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