Developed by Professor Keith Pullen, the Levistor flywheel system has secured a £545k grant from the UK Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles, in partnership with Innovate UK.

By Mr John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer), Published

617026

Thanks to a £545k grant from the UK Office for Zero Emissions in partnership with Innovate UK, technology developed out of City could be a game changer for electric vehicles and the environment.

The Levistor flywheel energy storage system (FESS), developed by Professor Keith Pullen in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics, has been designed to provide a short-term power boost to the electricity grid when extra energy is required to give a fast charge to the next generation of electric vehicles (EVs).

Levistor’s mechanical batteries store energy in a rotating shaft. Electrical energy is added through an electric motor (speeding up the shaft) and then taken out through a generator (slowing down the shaft). An EV would need half an hour to add 100 miles of range on a “rapid” 50kW charger but this can be done in under 5 minutes with the Levistor products buffering energy and increasing power to 350kW as can be absorbed by the latest EVs.

Professor Pullen is excited about the potential of FESS and welcomes the grant award:

“Our securing of a substantial grant from the UK Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles in partnership with Innovate UK will greatly boost our work in speeding up the roll-out of super-fast charging of EVs across the UK. We believe we have a sustainable solution: flywheels release energy rapidly, like lithium-ion batteries, but do so without the limitations of batteries such as the need to be heated or cooled. Flywheels also don’t degrade over time like battery cells.”

This technology is currently commercialised by City spinout Levistor Ltd. Tom Andrews, Levistor’s Commercial Director, said:

"The team at Levistor is delighted to be working on this flywheel technology developed at City by Professor Pullen. We are going to be using the flywheels to provide a boost to the grid for electric vehicle charging.  Our aim is to enable 350kW charging which would mean that 5 minutes of charge would give a driver over 100 miles. We are going to be launching a Crowdcube campaign later this month to enable us to get our first prototypes out into the market."