Key Energy has installed a three-phase flywheel energy storage system on a residential property east of Perth in Western Australia. The 8 kW/32 kWh system was installed over two days in an above-ground enclosure, dramatically reducing the time required to install the flywheel system.
New South Wales startup Key Energy has installed an 8kW/32kWh three-phase flywheel mechanical energy storage system at a property in Sawyers Valley, just east of Perth.
The installation included a single flywheel that stores energy mechanically, meaning it has no fire hazard, can operate for about 11,000 cycles without capacity degradation, and has a lifespan of 20-30 years. Although the energy density of these systems is low, they are significantly more durable than lithium ion-based chemical batteries.
This was a big draw for the Sawyers Valley property owner, who wanted a system that would not pose a fire hazard, could run their three-phase loads, and provide energy security since power outages often affect the area.
The project is Key Energy’s fourth installation, with two more expected to be completed this year. In total, the company has installed about 16 flywheel systems with an output of more than 300 kWh, including in a boarding school and in the gas company APA Group’s commercial off-grid equipment stations.
Key Energy says it aims to use this residential flywheel installation, as well as future projects, to get its technology into Western Australia’s Stand Alone Power System (SAPS), which is run by state-owned utilities Western Power and Horizon Power. The program is part of the state’s broader strategy to replace its strained regional network of poles and wires with renewable, self-sustaining options that typically include a solar panel, battery and, as a last resort, a diesel generator. The state has found these systems to be much cheaper and significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Flywheel battery systems are usually installed underground – a long and expensive process. Key Energy previously worked with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to develop an above-ground enclosure for its storage systems. Key Energy says this has allowed it to reduce installation times from one to two weeks for underground systems to just two days for the Sawyers Valley project.
Key Energy says it is also developing additional functions for the flywheel, paving the way for virtual power plants (VPPs), which it believes can take advantage of the flywheel system’s robust cycling characteristics and long life.
Founded in 2018, Key energy is located in the Sydney suburb of Chippendale and has a testing site in nearby Alexandria. Since its inception, it has received funding from the New South Wales Government, the City of Sydney and Energy Lab.
Key Energy’s flywheels are sourced from its US headquarters, Amber Kinetics, although the rest of the battery system is believed to be manufactured in Australia.