Excuse me, sir, may I help you with your flywheel?

The Cowboy first read about flywheel research with automotive applications 10 or 15 years ago. At the time, there was much speculation about what next generation technology would replace internal combustion, with fuel cells being the odds-on favorite at the time. Flywheels were a new and somewhat out-there technology that had a distinct “crazy inventor” flavor, but that some were heralding as an alternative to fuel cells. As hybrid battery technology has become widespread as an additive to, rather than a replacement of, internal combustion, the possibilities for all of these technologies multiply. There is a tendency to think of the future and technology in absolutes, yet here is another example of innovation being more about gradual improvements and new combinations of ideas rather than huge leaps of discovery. On the shoulders of giants…

Here’s what the cowboy loves about this:

  • F-1. Cool race cars – gotta love ’em.
  • The small size. Talk about a plug-in hybrid; it looks like you could just plug this unit into an existing drive train, although like most things it’s probably harder than it looks.
  • Vacuums.  Why use lubricants when you can have a vacuum.
  • It’s all about the gears, baby. Looking at the system, it seems that the flywheel is the easy part, the CVT technology seems to be the harder part. Did you notice that the presenter is with the transmission company, not the flywheel company? Holy dunkin’ toroids, batman!
  • Okay, okay, the materials science stuff for the flywheel is pretty serious, and the thing has to be pretty perfect to handle the velocity and energy.
  • Did you get the bit about people dying because of the explosions? This baby’s goin’ over MACH 3!
Published in: on May 8, 2008 at 20:10  Comments Off on Excuse me, sir, may I help you with your flywheel?  
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