The U.S. Department of Energy has granted a $43 million loan to a Massachusetts-based company to prove the value of a new technology in which spinning flywheels are used to improve the efficiency of the electric grid. Beacon Power Corp. will build a 20-megawatt flywheel plant in upstate New York in which flywheels spinning up to 16,000 times per minute will act as a sort of short-term power storage system for the state’s electrical distribution system, according to the Associated Press.
Essentially, the spinning flywheels would suck excess energy off the electric grid when supply is high, store it in the spinning cores, and return the energy to the grid when demand grows. Currently, fossil fuel generation feeds such demands on the electric grid, but Beacon officials predict using flywheels would cut carbon emissions in half. “It’s a lower (carbon dioxide) impact, much faster response for a growing market need, and so we get pretty excited about that,” said Matt Rogers, a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360.
[photo credit: Flickr]