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VYCON delivers flywheel kinetic wayside energy storage substation (WESS) for LA Metro

VYCON, a designer and manufacturer of flywheel kinetic energy storage systems, has completed delivery of its kinetic energy storage system at the Los Angeles Metro Red Line Westlake/MacArthur Park station. The equipment will be used in Metro’s Wayside Energy Storage Substation-WESS Project, which is funded by a grant of $4.4 million provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. VYCON’s Contract has a value of $3.6 million for the supply of the main core equipment and the commissioning of the entire system.

The project will demonstrate how VYCON’s technology captures energy generated by braking trains and redistributes that energy to rail lines to accelerating trains, improving energy usage that otherwise would be wasted in the form of heat.

By integrating the WESS with the rail traction power system, braking energy is captured as a train enters a station, converted and stored as kinetic energy, and later regenerated into clean, instant power to accelerate a train leaving a station. The technology significantly reduces electrical power consumption, improves train performance, decreases resistor bank heating (wasted energy) and minimizes carbon emissions.

VYCON’s REGEN flywheel system captures the wasted energy at cycles as low as once per minute and can scale up in power capacity with parallel systems. Metro is producing an initial base system with a capacity of 2MW, with future provisions to upgrade the system to 6 MW.

Studies performed for the project show that the 2 MW unit, with 33.3% of the baseline capacity, will capture and save 8.64 kWh per train departure; this initial capacity of 2 MW is consistent with current levels of service using two- and four-car trains during non-peak hours. With the current level of service, averaging 160 departures per day, the energy saving will be approximately 1.38 MWh; during a full year of operation, the 2 MW flywheel will save more than 400 MWh.

With factory delivery completed, on-site commissioning has begun in March and the system will be in operation in Q2.

In addition to energy recycling, VYCON’s REGEN also captures the DC train’s power and uses it to reduce peak power demands in the system and provide voltage support where low voltages are critical during operation. These peak power and voltage support capabilities are at their greatest during rush hours when the utility power demands are at a premium price.



OK, so 400MwHrs saved / year @ say 10c/KwH = $100/MwH (seems high).
= 40,000 $ / Year saving at a cost of $3.6m ~ 90 year payback - not great.

Depends on what they are paying for the energy - I estimated 10c/KwH which could be too high by a factor of 2.


True indeed, mahonj, although a considerable portion of the cost is probably non-recurring engineering expense; further we could probably assume the first-unit cost is 5-7x fully learned out production cost. OTOH, looking at the demise of FreeBeacon, it is possible that the technology is not a good candidate for appropriate cost reduction. I am looking for a copy of the grant document to understand this better.


4 cars a day? In New York City you have a fleet of hundreds of cars running 24/7. That would be megabuck savings, especially as one energy recapture system can handle multiple trains at a time at interchanges like Grand Central Station, Jamaica, and World Trade Center.

Now that we have a green program called TIGGER, I am suggesting the formation of a Program for Over-Operational Hybrids -- POOH. Step right in it.

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