Amber Kinetics, Hawaiian Electric team on flywheel pilot project

Amber Kinetics and Hawaiian Electric Co. have agreed to conduct a joint energy storage pilot project to test the capability of a flywheel system.

Amber Kinetics said Oct. 3 that it will build and install an Amber Gen2 Model 25 steel flywheel system, the first commercially available four-hour duration flywheel, at Hawaiian Electric’s Campbell Industrial Park generating station on O‘ahu, where the utility will evaluate its operation.

Amber’s steel flywheel is a multi-hour energy storage system capable of charging and discharging electricity for multiple duty cycles per day. A flywheel is a rotating mechanical device that is used to store and release energy. The storage system can provide renewable firming and peak energy shifting, flexible capacity, and ancillary services like voltage smoothing and frequency response for reliable utility operation.

“Hawaiian Electric Company is a leader among U.S. utilities for adopting and integrating renewable energy to create a sustainable energy future. Now it is continuing that leadership by exploring the potential of flywheel energy storage,” said Ed Chiao, Amber Kinetics’ co-founder and CEO. “We are excited to collaborate toward achieving the state’s 100 percent renewable energy goals by 2045.”

The Amber Kinetics system can support unlimited cycling with zero capacity loss over a 20-year-plus service life and is readily deployed outdoors. Other advantages of the Amber Kinetics energy storage system include safety, sustainability, full recyclability, and cost competitiveness over electrochemical batteries.

“Energy storage is essential to reach a 100 percent renewable energy future, optimizing the use of Hawai‘i’s abundant but variable solar and wind energy,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate planning and business development. “We are collaborating with a variety of partners to test a range of energy storage technologies and we are very excited to work with Amber Kinetics to evaluate this very promising flywheel energy storage system.”

The project is jointly funded by Hawaiian Electric and Energy Excelerator. In addition, Energy Excelerator and Hawaiian Electric are collaborating on nearly a dozen clean energy projects, such as Stem Inc.’s one-megawatt behind-the-meter energy storage project.

Headquartered in Union City, California, Amber Kinetics was founded in anticipation of the enormous worldwide demand for competitively priced, safe, environmentally sustainable, multi-hour energy storage. The company is vertically integrated, manufacturing its technology and developing energy storage projects using its flywheel system.

Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co. serve 95% of the state’s 1.4 million residents on the islands of O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i Island, Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i.

Energy Excelerator funds innovative startups to help create a 100% clean energy future, starting in Hawaii and Asia-Pacific. Energy Excelerator invests in energy, water, transportation, agriculture, and cybersecurity companies and opens up a world-class network of investors and customers to help their startup companies change the world. Energy Excelerator is primarily funded by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Energy, and its corporate partners; and operates as a program of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR).

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.