GOLDEN, COLO. - As part of a federal program to develop hybrid electric vehicles, Unique Mobility Inc. has designed a composite flywheel rotor that reportedly lowers the overall cost of HEV manufacturing. The rotor drives a flywheel energy storage device that passed initial spin tests under the Department of Energy's Hybrid Propulsion Systems Development Program, according to a news release from Unique.
The Golden-based company developed the flywheel system for HEVs under a $4.4 million contract with Ford Motor Co. of Dearborn, Mich. Because composites permit higher energy storage density, they are ideal for flywheel rotors, Unique said.
Unique fabricates the rotor using a combination of polar weaving and advanced resin transfer molding, a process developed by Dow-United Technologies Composite Products Inc. of Wallingford, Conn.
The process reinforces the rotor in both the hoop and radial directions. The rotor, which is 15 inches in diameter and weighs 36 pounds, was test-spun nearly two dozen times to its design speed of 30,000 rotations per minute.
The flywheel prototype, which can store 500 watt-hours of energy and deliver 40 kilowatts of power, is undergoing more tests.
Unique engineers and manufactures magnet motors and controls for automotive, aerospace and industrial applications.
Tel. (303) 278-2002 or fax (303) 278-7007.