60,000 RPM? Yes please.

By » Fri, January 4 2013

Understanding the broad stokes of current electric hybrid Kinetic Energy Regeneration Systems (KERS) is pretty straight forward. They are electrical motors that augment gas engines. Electrical motors become generators when use for braking; they recapture kinetic energy.

The engineers at Flybrid Systems are taking a less traveled road. They are storing energy by spinning a flywheel at just shy of the speed of light.

Flybrid 60,000 RPM? Yes please.

The system captures energy from the drive train when the driver lets off the gas. Instead of friction brakes clamping down on the spinning disc rotor, that torque is used to accelerate the flywheel. That kinetic is stored in the spinning flywheel, to be released back into the drive train when you hit the throttle.

As torque is delivered back to the drive train the flywheel slows down. When the driver slows, the kinetic energy is used to spin the flywheel faster, adding drag to the drive train that feels like braking.

Flybrid schematic 450x353 60,000 RPM? Yes please.

Right now mechanical KERS it’s used mostly in racing cars (but not Formula 1 which uses electrical energy storage) but it has been deployed to some capital vehicles like buses and garbage trucks.

One massive advantage to mechanical hybrid systems is that you can retro-fit existing vehicles without redesigning them from the ground up; it’s a sort of bolt-on solution. From a conservation perspective it is far preferable to increase the efficiency of existing vehicles rather than consuming additional resources necessary to build another vehicle from the ground up, so cheers to you, Flybrid.

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