MANHASSET, N.Y. Active Power Inc. (Austin) said it has operated a prototype of its battery-free energy storage system at 10 kilowatts (kW) for over 2 hours, a feat the company expects to help position the product for the telecommunications segment.
"The runtime of this prototype system is already 60 times that of our flywheel product and yet offers the same battery-free benefits," said Joe Pinkerton, chairman and chief executive of Active Power, in a statement. "A battery-free system that provides hours of backup time will allow Active Power to pursue the $4 billion telecommunications backup power market."
The power system is based on the company's flywheel energy storage technology that stores kinetic energy (energy produced by motion) by constantly spinning a compact rotor in a low-friction environment. When short-term back-up power is required, the rotor's inertia allows it to continue spinning and the resulting kinetic energy is converted to electricity.
According to Active Power, the flywheel power system provides a cost-effective alternative to batteries now used in wireline, wireless and cable networks. Unlike batteries, generators and fuel cells, the technology requires no toxic materials, diesel fuel or hydrogen for operation.
The company expects to begin shipping alpha units of the power system to customers starting the fourth quarter.