“Is there such thing as a battery solely made out of mechanical parts?”

With the current climate change crisis, there is a greater need for clean ways of storing energy. In face of this trouble humanity has invented a most peculiar device called the Flywheel. In essence, Flywheels are massive wheels use rotational motion to store energy. Now, let’s get into the details. The wheel flywheel has a large mass, which in turn causes the object to have a high inertia. This high inertia is what allows the flywheel to store a high amount of kinetic energy (Due to the laws of angular momentum). To make sure that this energy is not lost to friction, flywheels are encased in near-vacuum conditions to minimize air resistance and use magnetic bearings to reduce internal friction. Power is supplied to the flywheel through an electric motor, and during discharge the flywheel will spin in the other direction, causing it to shift into a generator.

The advantages of using flywheels include a high power density, a high lifetime, and the disadvantages include a low energy density and a high potential for danger in case of an accident (the wheel could become unhinged, which would cause it to fly out with dangerous levels of kinetic energy). All in all, flywheels are a innovative way to store energy for further use. In fact, the Los Angeles metro system is planning to incorporate flywheel technology to store the energy from their regenerative braking system, and a current student research project in the bay area is considering doing the same thing.

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