The core Flybrid technology relates to design, development, manufacture and control of high-speed flywheels for use in moving vehicles. Patents for vacuum sealing systems, bearing lubrication, safety and containment systems compliment trade secrets and know-how developed during the application of this technology to many different vehicles.
In the Flybrid system the flywheel is connected to the vehicle via a special KERS transmission and manipulation of the gear ratio across this transmission achieves control of energy storage and recovery. When the ratio is changed so as to speed up the flywheel energy is stored and when the ratio is changed so as to slow down the flywheel energy is recovered.
This technology is not new. Flywheel energy storage has been used in hybrid vehicles such as buses, trams and prototype cars before but the installation tended to be heavy and the gyroscopic forces of the flywheel were significant. Flybrid has now overcome these limitations.
The key difference with the Flybrid device is the flywheel speed. Rotating at more than 60,000 RPM the flywheel can be very much smaller and lighter than has previously been possible and the gyroscopic forces are also reduced to a level that can be considered insignificant. This advance in speed has been made possible by several key inventions for which patent protection has been granted.
A key advantage of flywheel hybrids is the power that can be transmitted between the flywheel and the vehicle wheels. The power transmission is only limited by the capability of the KERS transmission and this capability is very impressive. Of course power is important in a racing car but in fact it is also very important in a road car. Even a mundane road car is capable of very high power transfer during braking and the key to hybrid system effectiveness is capturing as much of this normally wasted energy as possible.
Managing Director, Jon Hilton, shows off the small high-speed flywheel
To find out more about Flybrid KERS, please visit the Torotrak Group website.