During the 2020-2021 period alone, forest fires in Australia cost more than $100 billion and flooding in 2022 has cost the country more than $3 billion so far. There’s no question that ignoring the raging climate crisis has been costly – both in financial terms and in loss of life.
As citizens and governments realize the importance of addressing climate change, duty of innovation falls into the hands of competent engineers and scientists with progressive ideas. In the new world of renewable energy, it’s those who constantly strive for better who stand to create the cities of the future.
Although scientists have helped pave the way, current technologies in renewable energy are stagnant, with little help from legislation to push for change. There are many reasons to push for innovations in this sector – for one thing, many countries are still overly reliant on fossil fuels, including oil. In 2022, with energy costs skyrocketing due to war sanctions, it’s easy to see why this strategy needs to change fast.
However, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric are dependent on certain climates and regions. It’s unlikely that desert cities will ever rely on hydroelectric power, and hard for rainy cities will be able to reliably use solar power. The problem, however, doesn’t lie only with the source of power but the methods of storing it.
The traditional storage method in renewable energy is the lithium-ion battery – known to many as the phone battery but there are problems with this method of storage. According to Bill Gates, the average household would have to pay triple the price for electricity when lithium-ion batteries are used for storage, a cost that many families can’t afford. These batteries also contain chemicals and are prone to degradation from overuse and high temperatures.
Though renewable energy is hailed as an integral part of solving climate change, the prevailing storage methods can harm the earth by releasing these chemicals into soil and water supply.
This is the problem that the engineers at Amber Kinetics’, the world leader in kinetic energy storage solutions (KESS), set out to solve. Their advanced flywheel technology does not rely on chemicals to store renewable energy. Instead, the flywheel utilizes a rotor and receives energy from a primary source.
The rotor then converts this energy into kinetic energy – the energy of motion – and makes the flywheel spin. It is a powerful solution to a modern problem, but the flywheel’s roots actually lay in familiar technology. From the early potters’ wheel found in many primitive societies to locomotives in the 19th century to rollercoasters in the modern era, flywheels have been around for a long time, used to power many different machines. Now, they could take the energy grid into the future.
Amber Kinetics’ proprietary flywheel, the M32, is not only better for the environment with its 30-year lifespan and recyclable design, but it is also notable in its performance. Each of Amber Kinetics’ flywheels, has a power capacity of 8kW and a discharge duration of four hours. When these units are combined together, flywheels can be scaled up to tens or even hundreds of megawatts.
With low operating and maintenance costs and zero degradation over time, it is a viable solution for cities hoping to venture into renewable energy.
In our future energy landscape, there is no place for energy sources and technologies that contribute to greater environmental damage. In fact, it is clear that the effects of climate change are not only in our future – they are in our present. With its innovative design and commitment to provide a sustainable and accessible solution, Amber Kinetics’ is poised to shape the future of energy storage for a greener tomorrow.