T&D World Magazine

Beacon Power Completes Critical Testing of Smart Energy 25 Flywheel System

Beacon Power Corp. has successfully completed all critical performance tests on the Smart Energy 25 flywheel, and is moving forward to order the remaining materials necessary to build its first 10 commercial flywheel units.

The critical tests that the flywheel passed included "lift-circuit failure testing." This involved powering the Smart Energy 25 system up to different speeds, including its top speed of 16,000 rpm, and disabling power to the magnetic system that lifts the spinning flywheel within its vacuum-sealed container. The hardware components that Beacon redesigned following a test malfunction in December 2006 were successful in bringing the flywheel to a full and safe stop. Other tests confirmed projected performance of the flywheel, including high efficiency operation and availability of its rated 25 kWh of stored energy.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment by our engineering team, representing thousands of hours of design, development and testing," said Bill Capp, Beacon president and CEO. "With this important safety milestone successfully completed and our redesign thus validated, we are moving ahead to build our first commercial units. We expect these initial Smart Energy 25 systems to be running in our new manufacturing plant in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, by the end of January 2008, before being grid-connected at our first commercial frequency regulation facility in April 2008."

Last month the company announced that the Smart Energy 25 had achieved the performance benchmarks of full speed (16,000 rpm) and full power (100 kilowatts charging and discharging), and that it had begun ordering some long lead-time components. The company is also qualifying multiple suppliers for key system components and continues to work to optimize the manufacturing cost of the system.

In related news, Beacon has finalized and is implementing plans to move its Massachusetts-based headquarters facility from Wilmington to a larger space in Tyngsboro. The Company has signed a 60-day extension of its current lease through November 2007, to allow a smoother transition from one location to the other. "We intend to make this move during the first half of November, without any significant interruption to flywheel development or manufacturing schedules," added Capp.

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