Hybrid vehicle technology is a well-conceived method of improving the efficiency and quality of operation of light - duty and heavy - duty vehicles. The hybrid approach often involves replacing today’s internal combustion engine (ICE) with hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) propulsion systems consisting of a smaller primary power source, an electrical powertrain, and some form of energy storage. Instead of an electrical powertrain, it is also possible to use a mechanical powertrain which includes either a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or another gearing system .

The purpose of this assessment is to determine the state of the art of advanced flywheel high power energy storage systems to meet system needs for high power energy storage and energy/power management. To meet requirements for hybrid powertrains, advanced high power energy storage and conversion technologies are needed. These technologies should address issues of high power energy storage, energy/power management, and auxiliary power. Advanced flywheel high power energy storage systems are one possible way to meet high power energy storage and energy/power conversion needs.

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body for world motor sport and the federation of the world’s leading motoring organizations, in October 2009 strongly endorsed flywheels. Regarding hybrid vehicles, FIA stated that “Technology such as flywheels reducing dependence on batteries and concentrating on ICE load shift proves to be the most promising way forward.” FIA singled out flywheels in their endorsement. The Department of Energy (DOE) tasked Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to assess the state - of - the - art of flywheel high power energy storage for hybrid vehicles. The tasking came from the DOE Vehicle Technologies Program within the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy....(Read more...)