In the run up to the 2009 Formula One season, most of the teams developed hybrid kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) as an optional way to get a power boost. While most of the systems ultimately were not raced because the extra power was not enough to overcome the weight penalty, there were some interesting lessons learned. Most of the systems were of the well known battery electric hybrid variety.

The Williams F1 team, however, developed a novel flywheel-electric system with a flywheel tied to a motor-generator. The flywheel is the energy storage system rather than electro-chemical battery. The race team has formed a subsidiary called Williams Hybrid Power to try and commercialize the system. Williams has now formed a consortium with Ricardo, Torotrac, Land Rover and several other companies for a demonstration project to evaluate its system as well as a flywheel magnetic system from Ricardo in commercial applications. The goal is to develop an on-the-road system for under £1000 ($2,000). The new KinerStor demonstration project is partially funded by the UK government through the technology strategy board.

[Source: Williams Hybrid Power]

press release


Oxford, November 24, 2009. Following the recent announcement of part funding by the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board, the partners in the KinerStor project have today announced further details of their collaborative programme to demonstrate the viability of low-cost flywheel hybrid systems

The KinerStor project will be led by Ricardo and will comprise a consortium of industrial partners including CTG, JCB, Land Rover, SKF, Torotrak and Williams Hybrid Power. The project aims to demonstrate the potential of flywheel-based hybrid systems with the potential for 30 per cent fuel savings (and equivalent reductions in CO2 emissions) at an on-cost of less than £1000, thus enabling the mass-market uptake of hybrid vehicles in price sensitive vehicle applications.

The project will research and de-risk the principle critical flywheel sub-systems individually, then bring them together for system optimisation in two forms of proprietary device; a mechanical/magnetic coupled flywheel system developed by Ricardo (known by the trade name Kinergy), and an electrically coupled unit developed by Williams Hybrid Power. The flywheel systems being developed by the KinerStor consortium partners are ideally suited for potential applications in passenger cars ranging from small, price-sensitive mass-market models through to large luxury SUVs, as well as in low-cost compact energy storage systems for application in industrial and construction equipment. The KinerStor project team aims to design, build and test a number of prototype units such that on completion, the developed technologies are ready for vehicle-based installation, testing and demonstration.

The KinerStor consortium brings together a critical mass of relevant skills and expertise in specialist areas, including: advanced flywheel systems, focusing on new material technologies including low-cost composite fibres and specialist steels; continuously variable transmissions; bearing and coupling design; drivetrain integration; and volume vehicle manufacturing. The project's structure will allow for the development of common core- technology solutions which can be tailored to the individual needs of vehicle manufacturers, maximising potential fuel saving and CO2 emission reduction benefits.

Commenting on today's announcement, Ricardo group technology director Neville Jackson said:

"The development of highly optimised flywheel based technology offers the prospect of the effective and low-cost hybridisation of price-sensitive vehicle applications with consequent benefits to fuel economy and CO2 emissions reduction. Ricardo is pleased to be able to lead the KinerStor consortium which brings together a crucial mass of skills and expertise in this important area of future automotive technology."

The KinerStor project is supported by an investment from the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board with balancing resources provided by the project partners.

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