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American Flywheel Acquires Trinity Flywheel Power, Announces Flywheel Ride-Through and UPS Systems to Address Utility Grid Problems

SEATTLE & LIVERMORE, Calif.-Seattle-based American Flywheel Systems Inc. (AFS) has acquired 58 percent of Livermore-based Trinity Flywheel Power for an undisclosed price and has introduced new capital and management into the company.

The company also reported that Trinity is now taking orders for up to 225 kVA (191 kW) super-fast recharge UPS and ride-through systems, with deliveries commencing in 2001.

The company believes these are the first flywheel systems that can handle not only initial power anomalies from the utility grid, but systems also capable of protecting the digital economy from rapid successions of both minor and major sags and spikes.

Trinity said that this capability is a result of its bore-loaded, composite flywheel rotor and ironless motor generator, which, unlike heavier and slower flywheel systems, can discharge and recharge completely in 10 to 20 seconds.

“By infusing both capital and technology into Trinity’s compact and reliable flywheel ride-through and UPS systems, we intend to leapfrog chemical battery, nonbattery and other flywheel ride-through solutions,” according to AFS and Trinity chairman and CEO Edward Furia.

“We are also well positioned to address the wide range of future mission-critical power-bridging requirements of the expanding digital economy.”

AFS and Trinity president and COO Joel Levinthal explained: “Our strategy is to occupy the middle ground between sub-low-speed steel flywheels-now around 8,000 rpm-and experimental super-high-speed carbon fiber flywheels-targeted for 90,000- to 100,000-rpm operation.

“We operate our composite flywheel at 40,000 rpm, which means we don’t have to push the envelope. Our rotor has also undergone extensive independent safety tests conducted by Test Devices Inc. for the U.S. government that show it operates within a generous and reliable safety margin.

“The bottom line is, these systems deliver better performance than any chemical batteries or noncomposite flywheel systems we know of. As a result, for a wide range of applications, we believe we are in an excellent position to deliver the fastest, lightest, most useful and cost-effective UPS and power-bridging solutions.”

Furia and Levinthal said the company is taking orders now for volume shipments of high-power ride-through systems to be shipped in 2001 with the following power technology competitive advantages:

  • Recovery times that are up to 100 times faster than other UPS or ride-through flywheels-recovery times that therefore provide protection from clusters of lightning strikes and other multiple minor as well as major sag and spike episodes.
  • Systems that, because they are small, light and cool-running, do not need to be placed in their own battery rooms or equipment sheds but virtually anywhere-inside, immediately adjacent to servers or PDUs, or outside in 0- to 120-degree F. environments.
  • The only commercial flywheel UPS or ride-through systems that double as power flow management units. With recharge times measured in seconds instead of minutes, they can absorb surges as well as smooth power flow in semiconductor manufacturing, tasks beyond the capability of any chemical battery and any other flywheel UPS system of which AFS and Trinity are aware.

The company said its products target the backup power problems of a wide range of customers, such as digital equipment operators, hospitals, Internet service providers, semiconductor makers, airport control towers, commercial buildings and others who need clean, reliable, uninterruptible power.