Axially free flywheel system

  • US 6,710,489 B1
  • Filed: 08/28/2002
  • Issued: 03/23/2004
  • Est. Priority Date: 08/30/2001
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A flywheel energy storage system having a flywheel that is supported by a combination mechanical and magnetic bearing system for rotation about a substantially vertical axis inside a container with low drag atmosphere, and is accelerated with a motor and decelerated with a generator for storing and retrieving energy, comprising:

  • rolling element mechanical bearings for providing radial support for said flywheel while leaving said flywheel mechanically unrestrained in the direction of said vertical axis, said rolling element mechanical bearings being located at top and bottom ends of said flywheel;

    radially compliant elements mechanically in series with said rolling element mechanical bearings for reducing radial stiffness of said radial support; and

    a magnetic thrust bearing system for providing axial support for said flywheel;

    wherein said flywheel is magnetically supported axially and is mechanically unrestrained axially by said mechanical bearings.

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