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Journal of Energy in Southern Africa

versão On-line ISSN 2413-3051
versão impressa ISSN 1021-447X

J. energy South. Afr. vol.23 no.3 Cape Town  2012


A specification of a flywheel battery for a rural South African village



Richard OkouI; Adoniya Ben SebitosiII; Pragasen PillayIII

IDepartment of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town
IIDepartment of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
IIIDepartment of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Concordia University, Canada




The strong growth rates in the installed capacities of renewable energy technologies that have been posted in recent years demonstrate their capacity in the mitigation of green house gas emissions and climate change. The majority of these growths, however, have been realised in grid connected first world programs and do not require provision for energy storage. Most African rural areas are still far from the grid. Many upcoming developments such as cellular network repeater stations and health clinics must be operated from independent off grid PV installations. The intermittence of the resources dictates that reliable energy storage must be provided. The lead acid battery is currently the only available option but has well documented maintenance and disposal problems. The flywheel battery is an old technology that is re-emerging with a strong promise and could address the shortcomings of the lead acid battery. In this paper, a case study of a rural South African village load is depicted. Using a real utility database a possible specification for an electromechanical battery is derived. The authors further highlight the areas that will need future developments.

Keywords: energy storage, flywheel system, rural energy, South Africa



Full text available only in PDF format.




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Received 11 October 2011
Revised 4 June 2012