Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
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Matt Brunk | July 18, 2011 |


VYCON Flywheel Spins Green Benefits

VYCON Flywheel Spins Green Benefits Flywheel technology is greener, saves money, protects equipment and ensures continuous operations.

Flywheel technology is greener, saves money, protects equipment and ensures continuous operations.

Recently I spoke with Dann McKeraghan, VP of Sales for VYCON about benefits of flywheel technology. What I didn't know about VYCON's flywheel is that they provide dual conversion, meaning that the utility feed passing through to the equipment side is protected. But there's more to it than just dual conversion. VYCON recently accomplished an improvement in flywheel efficiency. Flywheel technology is greener, saves money, protects equipment and ensures continuous operations. Dann said, "98% of all power sags and outages last less than 10 seconds and most generators take 12 seconds to come online." During this time is when batteries are stressed and even fail because of the great load put on them. Batteries still require maintenance, venting and a lot of space in data centers and they still remain the weakest link in power configurations. Batteries' useful life will vary with the quality of power and the number and type of electrical issues. According to the National Survey on Data Center Outages, battery failures account for 65% of unplanned outages in data centers.

VYCON’s flywheel only requires "15 minutes of maintenance annually and that is non-disruptive", according to Dann. Most flywheels are configured to provide 20 seconds of full load. Even when customers retain their batteries, battery hardening occurs because the flywheel removes most of the stress from the batteries for those 10-second-or-less disruptions. This extends the battery life and customers still have a choice in using batteries or not. VYCON’s flywheel has a 20-year use life.

The other element that is attractive is the option of not using batteries, and that means less recycling and greener acclaim. The fewer conversions of power (AC to DC) also yield greater efficiencies, and then using DC power for direct feed to DC equipment in the data center will yield greater efficiency. Dann said, "The VDC XE gained 20% more energy storage with no negative impact to efficiency...99.4% maintained." I also asked Dann if higher power factor efficiency in the flywheel means higher costs and he stated that, "The power factor does not necessarily dictate the initial nor overall cost. Power factor is the amount of work (kW) the UPS inverter can deliver. When the kW rating is close to the kVA rating, the UPS can deliver more power. The flywheel power is calculated against the kW rating of the UPS." The Data Center Protection video is here.

For folks interested in a single-phase flywheel UPS on the low-cost end, the IEEE seems to be working on it, or at least a member has initially addressed it here. The SMB market needs reliable power and could save enormous amounts of resources if Flywheel technology can scale small enough and hit the right price points. I've noted in energy posts that our industry is in the energy business and we run powered networks. Energy and reliability remain key targets in all we do. The ongoing challenge is to reduce the energy and carbon footprint while getting sustainability ingrained into the process. This means more (alternative) sources of energy, and flywheel technology that Dann presents also fits perfectly in the alternative energy space, especially if inverters are removed or reduced in the configurations. The cost of unplanned outages impact SMBs and large enterprises alike. According to research from Virginia Tech, the future of power is an independent distributed model with residential and commercial buildings producing their own power and using the grid as a backup. This should sound disruptively familiar.


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