SustainableQatar meet to focus on Formula 1 spin-offs
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA THE contributions of Formula 1 race cars to environmental sustainability will be discussed at the monthly meeting of SustainableQatar on Monday. The meeting will be held at the Friends of the Environment Center by 6.30pm.
Williams Technology Centre’s General Manager Damien Scott will be at hand to show that new advances in sustainability being developed in Qatar result directly from the technology in use on the race track.
The Williams patented flywheel energy storage technology can realise environmental benefits in energy savings, carbon emission reduction, and reduction in use and disposal of toxic chemicals.
As a Formula 1 race car speeds down the track, the driver accelerates and uses fuel to create the energy that creates speed. To make the turns on the race track, the driver must apply the brakes an average of 14 times per minute. When the car slows down, the energy that has been created by burning fuel will be lost unless there is a way to store that energy.
An innovative energy storage device was needed to recapture the energy that would otherwise have been wasted. Batteries are used in most race cars, similar to the batteries in hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius.
However, batteries have many drawbacks, including they must be replaced after every race, wasting precious resources used in the production of the battery.
Williams Technology Centre has developed an alternative – a state of the art flywheel – which has many improvements on the earlier models of the flywheel. The flywheel is a substitute for chemical batteries and works well in many applications.
The use of flywheel systems can save up to 50 percent required fuel and also reduce CO2 emissions.
In addition to race cars, flywheel technology is suitable for many applications, and has already been used for four or five decades in such applications as mass transit. Applications of the flywheel technology will be of two categories: mobile and stationary. Mobile applications will include such mass transit as city buses, monorails, metro systems, and trams with on board energy storage. A city bus can realize 20 – 40 percent energy savings, while electrical vehicles can save up to 50 percent, by using flywheel storage. Stationary applications would include storage of wind, wave and solar energy production.
New applications of the technology required increasing the storage capacity of the devices. To have the capacity needed for these applications, engineers can either increase the mass of the flywheel or increase the rate of spin. Doubling the mass doubles the storage.
But when doubling the speed of the spin, four times the storage is achieved.
The rate of spin has been limited in the past due to the characteristics of available materials to construct the flywheel. When spin was increased beyond the capabilities of the material, the flywheel would disintegrate.
Increasing the mass was the only alternative.
Early tests of flywheel technology failed when the mass of the flywheel was so great that buses actually overturned when rounding corners. The Williams Flywheel technology has developed techniques to reduce the mass, but increase the spin of the flywheel, making the devices both efficient as well as effective for many new applications.
In addition to more storage capacity, the Williams patented flywheel can be used in high heat enviornments, such as Qatar. When temperatures climb over 40 Celsius, regular flywheels fail. The improved flywheels can work for 16 hours/ day for 10 years without replacement Another advantage of the flywheel technology is that it reduces toxic waste created by the disposal of chemical batteries.
Chemical batteries use exotic and rare materials that are very toxic to the environment at the end of the life span of the battery.
Flywheels are constructed of ordinary metals such as steel, aluminum, and copper.