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Williams Hybrid Power flywheel proves powerful and reliable in Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid in Zhuhai race

The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid completed the recent 1,000 km of Zhuhai in China ahead of all other GT cars and with fewer stops for gasoline. At the core of the hybrid system is Williams Hybrid Power’s (WHP) flywheel energy storage unit. (Earlier post.)

WHP’s patented Magnetically Loaded Composite (MLC) flywheel technology, originally developed for Formula One, captures and stores a vehicle’s kinetic energy in a high-momentum composite flywheel. This energy, otherwise lost as heat during braking, can be re-introduced into the driveline to save fuel, or bolster performance, both crucial parameters in endurance racing also having clear applicability to road car application.

Zhuhai marked the last of three endurance races for the Porsche Hybrid in 2010. Throughout the season the MLC flywheel technology has operated without fault in a deep-cycling, high duty cycle and aggressive mobile environment, according to Williams F1.

As an example of WHP’s focus on wider applications for the MLC flywheel technology, it participates in a consortium with companies such as Jaguar Land Rover who are seeking to develop hybrid flywheel applications at sufficiently low cost to facilitate mass uptake in the road car market. The purpose of the project is to refine technologies that can bring considerable reduction in road car emissions.



Flywheel equipped hybrids may be effective in stop and go city traffic but would not offer the same benefit on long trip highways.


Why not???


Because energy storage is mostly dead weight in constant-speed applications.

The exception is if the engine can be cycled on and off so that it is either operating at its best BSFC point or shut down, using the flywheel to buffer the differences between output and road load. Improvements would be more marginal, though.


The most stupid explanation I have heard for a very long time. Can't you come up with something better?


Are you under the impression that regenerative braking does anything when there is no braking going on? I realize that you've made it your mission in life to raise any conceivable objection to whatever statements I make here, but that's clueless even for you.


All flywheels have a certain rotational decay rate. Those installed in a perfect vacuum on perfect frictionless magnetic bearings will have much lower rotational decay rate but will eventually stop. The energy used to keep the magnetic bearing effective and the perfect vacuum (if supplied by the flywheel) will add more rotational decay.

Even the perfect flywheel is not perpetual and will decay unless external energy (like regenerative braking) is used to prime it up.

Could Earth magnetic lines (if captured while traveling at highway speed) be enough to compensate for the rotational decay? A roof top solar cell could probably do it when the sun is around.

A flywheel with zero effective rotational decay could be very expensive. Small gyros with slow rotational decay rate are also very expensive.

In a stop and go environment, like city traffic, the rotational decay rate is not that important and lower cost flywheels could do a good job.


No, Harvey, Earth's magnetic field is not a source of energy.

Flywheel drag is a parasitic loss like any other. If you've sized the flywheel system so that its losses exceed the regenerative gains, you've mucked up the system design and you deserve to have people point at you and laugh.


"Could Earth magnetic lines (if captured while traveling at highway speed) be enough to compensate for the rotational decay?"

Probably not in conventional ways at three one-billionths of a volt per square meter of flux-collecting surface. But there is the quantum field to consider where usable energy flux occurs between nano-scale gates.

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