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Adelwitz Technologiezentrum GmbH (ATZ), Germany

Based on the progress of heavy-load HTS bearings the technical concept and recent development
results of a new high- efficient compact 5 kWh/250 kW FESS for uninterruptible power system
(UPS) and power quality function is reported. In a first step we have been designed, constructed
and tested a new compact HTS magnetic bearing capable to stabilize a 400 kg flywheel rotor
safely. At 78.5 K the maximum axial load of the cylindrical 200 mm HTS bearing was 8000 N at
initial stiffnesses of 3 kN /mm and 1.5 kN /mm for axial and radial forces, respectively. The
bearing load -to-weight factor is 15, while the AC and hysteresis losses without optimization cause
a friction moment of about 5x10-4 Nm at the 17.1 kg rotor.

Keywords: Flywheel Energy Storage System; HTS bearing; magnetic levitation; energy loss


A Flywheel Energy Storage System (FESS) stores electrical energy as rotational kinetic energy. It
consists of a rotateable annular mass, a variable speed motor/generator with a power conversion
system. Electrical energy is converted to kinetic energy, stored in the flywheel, and in case of power
demand it is converted back to electrical energy. Modern FESS possesses the potential of high power
and high energy density storage simultaneously for improving power quality and has positive
environmental energy issues. Flywheel
electricity systems can be applied to increase Super
electric utility efficiency and reliability. 104 Advanced
Fig. 1 gives an overview about the
possibilities to store electrical energy. The 3
growing mobility and energy demand require 10
Peak Power [W/kg]

alternative energies sources, but, as well as a Ni/Zn Alcohol
high efficiency in the use of produced energy. 2
10 Conventional
For the latter purpose modern FESS compete Flywheels
with Superconducting Magnetic Energy Lithium Ion
Storage Systems (SMES) and chemical 10
storage systems like Super Capacitors (Super H2 Fuel Cell
Caps). The comparison in Fig. 1 demonstrates 0
that modern FESS with low loss magnetic 10
0 1 2 3
10 10 10 10
bearings can provide a high peak power e.g.
for load levelling and, simultaneously have Specific Energy [Wh/kg]
enough specific energy to bridge a power fail Fig.1
over a time, where diesel generators can be Comparison of different energy storage systems
overtaken the load of a local grid.
In addition, the electric power of night can be stored with a flywheel, at first in small and local units.
Consuming storage electric power in the daytime equalizes the power consumption of day and night,
and development is furthered for the purpose of attaining equalization of the time load of electric
power equipment. For on-site generated solar or wind power that is available on demand, or
distributed power storage for load-levelling, modern FESS can be an efficient electrical utility in the
2. Present status of HTS flywheel developments

While conventional flywheels are being constructed and used successfully over the last 30 years their
efficiency was strongly limited by the mechanical bearings dissipated too much energy.
Consequently, several attempts to use HTS bearings in large-scale FESS concepts have been made in
the last five years. Four ambitious larger energy flywheel projects have been performed in the period
from 1998 up to now. Three systems are planned to use HTS bearings [1-3]. The URENCO flywheel
is semi magnetic with a pivot bearing. The HTS flywheel projects have reached in 2005 a
demonstration level either of components or of the total system. In Table 1 some published
parameters and data are compared.
Table 1: Comparison of flywheel developments with HTS bearings (status 2005)

NEDO Project, Japan Boeing /ANL, USA Piller Cons., Germany

2000 – 2005 [1] 1999 -2005 [2] 1999 – 2005 [3]
Energy [kWh] 2.7 / 5.7 0,1 ; 5 goal 11 goal
10 goal
Power [kW] 400 goal 100 2000 goal
Rotor material Carbon fibre reinforced Carbon /glass fibre Carbon fibre
strengthening plastic cfrp
Rotor mass [ kg] 425 160 450
Total mass [kg] 1500 2000
Rotor size d x h [mm] 1000 x 300 840 x300 1300 x 493
Bearing type HTS radial 1x , active HTS axial HTS radial, 2x
magnetic 3x PM bearing
Bearing stiffness[ N/mm] 3 K axial, 80 radial 168 axial 6 K/ 4 K axial/radial
test status calculated

Standby Loss W 2 000

Present status finished 05, test phase test phase 04/05 component study
05/2005 dynamical tests finished, test 05
RPM 8000 test 22900 test

The analysis of the status of present HTS flywheel projects in Table 1 demonstrates the high
complexity of the systems. Evidently, flywheel systems with HTS magnetic bearings represent a
highly integrated design and technical challenge:
- Motor /generator coupled with efficient power converter
- Composite rotor structures with safe rotor dynamics and long life
- Low loss HTS magnetic bearing with adequate force and stiffness
The flywheel application for UPS or power quality management requires a high specific energy of up
to 50 Wh/kg and round-trip efficiency larger than 90 %. Within the different projects and
technological approaches it became evident that most of the development barriers are associated with
the performance, properties and reliability of magnetic bearings. The magnetic forces have to
stabilize fast rotating heavy- load rotors of several hundred kilograms weight.
Correspondingly, the superconducting magnetic bearing technique is one of the key features of the
new generation of high efficient flywheels.

3. New project of a compact HTS flywheel

Based on ATZ`s HTS magnetic bearing progress [4] a new 2 years project of an HTS flywheel has
been started in 2005. The project with ATZ, Magnet Motor (MM) and E.ON joins the individual
competence of the three partners and focuses on developing a compact and reliable FESS. The FESS
module incorporates complete magnetic stabilization of a 400 kg flywheel rotor. The FESS concept
is based on features which are well-tried in conventional flywheels combined with currently
developed HTS magnetic high-load low-loss bearings. HTS refrigeration is planned with closed
cycle Gifford McMahon (GM) machine cooling to maintain a temperature of 77 K or lower. The
project is supported by German BMBF/VDI.
The significance of the compact 5 kWh FESS demonstrator is given by the following features:

• Compact design / comparable small volume Cryo cooler

• Stored energy /max. power: 5 kWh/250 kW HTS bearing

• Non-contacting magnetic rotor stabilization

• 400 kg composite fiber rotor
• Low electrical and windage losses
• High –efficient motor / generator
• YBCO bearing: Æ10 N/cm² force density
• UPS and power quality application
• FESS >90% round -trip efficiency motor/generator
Power electronics
lower magnetic
The principle schematic of the compact HTS bearing
flywheel is given in Fig. 2. The rotor is stabilized
in vertical direction by two magnetic bearings,
either using two HTS bearings or in a HTS /PM Fig. 2
bearing configuration. Design concept of the compact HTS flywheel
Rotation is performed in a vacuum vessel with a
pressure 10-2 – 10-3 mbar to reduce rotor windage. The central shaft carries the carbon fibre (cf)
flywheel rotor, the motor/generator and the multi-pole permanent magnet (PM) configuration for the
top and bottom bearing. Account must be taken for the dynamical behaviour of the rotor which is
spreading out and flatten at high rim speeds. At high power operation the fast deceleration may
stimulate shearing within the rotor.
Although magnetic bearings reduce energy loss substantially, eddy current and hysteretic losses (so
called “iron losses”) of the motor/generator influence the overall efficiency of the FESS. Therefore,
in the present project status the scientific and engineering effort is focused on optimal component
design and fabrication technique of the basic FESS elements rotor body, motor/generator and
magnetic bearings.

4. Flywheel HTS test bearing

3.1 HTS bearing design

For the new HTS flywheel a radial magnetic bearing according to has been designed, fabricated and
tested. The cylindrical HTS stator of the size OD 230 mm x ID 204 mm x H 120 mm was composed
of individual 60 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm multiple seeded YBCO single grains. The YBCO blocks are
grown by melt texturing, machined, stabilized and finally glued into a double – wall copper container
with two component glue (Stycast). The magnetic quality of the YBCO single grain material was
further improved by Y211 refinement and optimal oxygenation at 400- 4500 C over 200 hours.
Standard levitation against a 25 mm 0.4 T PM at 0.5 mm distance was 80 – 90 N; trapped field
investigation at 1.4 Tesla excitation resulted in maximum values 0.8 – 1 .0 Tesla. Again, we like to
notice that for high levitation pressure the average magnetization per area is more important than
high peak values. For obtaining this the optimal single grain size we have been found to be between
40 and 50 mm. Zero field cooled experiments with the standard 0.4 Tesla PM show a magnetic
pressure up to 20 N/cm². However, for a radial magnetic bearing with 2 – 3 mm magnetic distance
the maximum levitation pressure is closer to 10 N/ cm² rather than higher values.
Co-centrically to the modular assembled single grain YBCO stator the rotor of stapled PM rings in
the size 200 mm x 150 mm x 120 mm is positioned resulting a magnetic radial gap distance of 2 mm.
The PM rings of the quality H33 (Br = 1.15 T) are stapled axially to face with equal polarity on Fe
shims between and give a radial flux distribution of high magnetic flux gradient in the neighbouring
superconductor. The optimal magnetic configuration was calculated and experimentally investigated
for the 2 mm gap. Because of the small gap between bearing rotor and HTS stator no encapsulation
of the cold stator is possible. This has consequences for the thermal conditions and enhanced losses.
For the flywheel test bearing a new 400 mm sized vacuum cryostat have been designed and
constructed. Fig. 3 shows the complete test bearing with a
hydraulic force transducer system coupled with a steel
shaft through a vacuum feed to the rotor. The non –
magnetic composite fiber glass housing has axial (2x
center shafts) and radial vacuum feedthrough`s to the
rotor (8 x radial, 2 x LN2 feed through, 2 x evacuation
ports). The vacuum
cryostat was self –
developed and
constructed. For
optimal thermal
insulation the
central cold part is
mechanically fixed
by meander-like
G10 spacer of low
cross section. The
selected fiber glass
material has a low Fig. 3
heat transfer Schematics (left) and photography of the 400 mm flywheel HTS test bearing
coefficient (λ = 0.20
W/mK). The thermal insulation structure ensures high thermal resistance between the Cu/YBCO cold
part and the outer cryostat. In addition, a multi-layer insulation (MLI), not shown in the photography
of Fig. 3, reduces radiative heat transfer.

3.2 Force measurement

We have been measured the axial and radial stiffness of the test bearing. To measure the forces a
hydraulic force system was coupled to axial
center shaft or to one pair of radial bolts. After 8000 500 kg HTS bearing
field cooling of rotor's magnetic flux distribution T= 78.5 K axial
in the HTS stator the mechanical bolts are
removed and the bearing rotor was floating freely
force [N]

due to the pinning forces. No set – down of the
17.1 kg rotor was observed indicating a high axial 2000
stiffness. 0
The bearing temperature was controlled by two
0 1 2 3 4
thermocouples, one inside the YBCO ring at 2 displacement [mm]
mm depth from the inner surface, the other
directly on the double wall LN2 copper container. Fig. 4
Axial and radial force displacement curves of the
The bearing is cooled down using LN2 giving a flywheel HTS magnetic test bearing
temperature of 77.4 K of the copper container,
and between 78.5 K and 80.5 K of the YBCO ring at 8x10-4 mbar and 3x10-2 mbar, respectively.
Fig. 4 shows the axial and radial force - displacement curves at superconductor temperature of 78.5
K. At one millimetre displacement the axial force is 3000 N, in radial direction the restoring force is
1500 N in agreement with the calculated 2:1 ratio for multi-pole excitation systems. The compact
bearing with a total weight of about 55 kg can stabilize maximum loads of 800 kg axially at about 79
K. For lowering the temperature we expect to approach the one ton force level. The bearing shows a
load-to-weight ratio of almost 15:1 exceeding our positive expectations of 10:1 from earlier HTS
bearing developments [4].
From the curves in Fig. 4 we estimate the stiffness parameters of the test bearing. We obtain in axial
direction at 1 mm displacement stiffness of 3 kN / mm and at 4 mm displacement still a stiffness of 1
kN / mm. The corresponding value in radial direction was 1.5 kN / mm.

3.3 Bearing loss

The thermal insulation of the test bearing was not optimized. The basic thermal loss of the vacuum
cryostat due to heat transfer and heat radiation is a function of the insulation vacuum and the
radiation shielding. We measured the LN2 consumption per time and a N2 gas flow in a meter. The
basic thermal loss of the bearing was determined to 32.5 W (500 l/h N2) using the steady state gas
flow and 35 W by measuring the LN2
consumption. Interestingly, if we remove the
AC + hysteresis losses in HTS

35 -0,0032 friction moment Mfric= J x dω/dt

-0,0034 rotor the thermal loss is lowered by almost 10 W,

rotor weight: 20 kg
Mfric = 5x10 Nm

30 although we tried to reduce radiative heat

dω/dt [1/s²]



transfer between the warm rotor surface and the

angular frequency [1/s]

25 -0,0040

cold YBCO stator in the 2 mm gap by two layers
20 -0,0044

of superinsulation (CRYOLAM).
0 2000 4000
time [s]
6000 8000

More import is the dynamical loss of the bearing.
p= 8x10 mbar
For this, the rotor was accelerated and we
1. run, T= 80.2 K, measured the speed degradation. Fig. 5 shows the
5 2. run, T =79.8 K experimental result of two measurements at a
0 temperature of about 80 K. The rotor was
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 accelerated to 1740 and 1900 rpm and the speed
degradation was observed. From the almost
Fig. 5 linear shape of the curves we exclude any
Free rotor speed decay of the HTS flywheel test
contribution of air friction. By differentiating the
curves we obtain the speed degradation per time
(14.5 rpm/min) and calculate an averaged AC and hysteresis friction moment of the rotor of MAC+hys
= 5x10-4 Nm.


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The work was supported by the German BMBF under the No. 13N8737 and the Saxonian Ministry
of Economics and Work under the contract No. 7759.