Dr. Seth Sanders has led research into innovative flywheel energy storage and power conversion technologies for the past two decades at U.C. Berkeley’s College of Engineering. In 2009, Seth teamed up with co-founder Ed Chiao to commercialize his laboratory research, giving rise to Amber Kinetics. Amber Kinetics is rooted in Seth and Ed’s shared belief that mechanical flywheel technology can make a meaningful contribution in the transition to clean energy by providing very low cost energy storage.
While flywheel technology has been around for centuries, Amber Kinetics has evolved the concept by combining multiple breakthrough technologies with low-cost rotors that are made of 98% steel. The result is a flywheel that provides safe, economical, utility-scale energy storage. Amber Kinetics works with utilities and industrial organizations to balance the variability of renewable energy sources and to manage peak demand on electricity grids. Amber Kinetics is also an integrated manufacturer and asset developer, enabling project design flexibility and optimization. The flywheel is fully recyclable at the end of its 30-year lifespan.
Now let’s talk deployment.
Hawaii has the highest percentage of grid-tied renewable energy, most of which is intermittent. Amber Kinetics is partnering with Hawaiian Electric to deploy a single flywheel (8 kW, 32 kWh) energy storage system and to test variable speed control of the flywheel for faster, more agile response time and other utility use cases. With Amber Kinetic’s help, Hawaiian Electric can integrate variable solar generation, regulate local grid voltage and frequency, provide reactive power support, and prevent auto-disconnecting from the grid due to the generation variability with large amounts of solar saturation.