VYCON Technology Allows Los Angeles Metro to be First Transit Agency in U.S. Using Flywheels to Achieve Nearly 20 Percent in Rail Energy Savings

October 30, 2014

VYCON’s REGEN clean energy storage system puts Metro on target for an annual estimated savings of 540 MWh

LOS ANGELES — VYCON (www.vyconenergy.com), the designer and manufacturer of environmentally friendly, high-speed kinetic energy storage systems, today announced that the April installation of its REGEN kinetic energy storage system at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Red Line Westlake/MacArthur Park Subway station is already showing significant energy savings. The collected data today indicates that Metro is realizing nearly 20 percent in energy consumption. Based on the data obtained so far, it is estimated an annual savings of 541 megawatt hours (MWh), enough to provide power to 100 average California homes.

VYCON’s environmentally friendly flywheel systems are used in what is officially known as Metro’s Wayside Energy Storage Substation (WESS) Project. This energy storage project – a culmination of nearly five years of dedicated research, and development, production, and installation ̶ is funded by a grant provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

According to Frank Castro, Metro’s Project Manager for this WESS Project, “Metro is highly pleased with the operational performance and energy savings realized by this high-tech, first-of-its-kind project. We believe it will contribute to a greener environment and achieve our sustainability goals, and at the same time reducing our utility bills.”

“We are extremely pleased with our REGEN’s efficient operation and energy savings to date for Metro,” said Frank DeLattre, president of VYCON. “This is a milestone energy project and we look forward to duplicating these energy savings and operational efficiencies at Metro and other electric rail transportation agencies worldwide.”

The scope of this project is to demonstrate how VYCON’s green regenerative technology stores energy generated by braking trains and efficiently redistributes that energy to rail lines to accelerate trains – vastly improving energy usage that otherwise would be wasted in the form of heat. The operational two-megawatt base WESS utilizes VYCON’s high-speed flywheel technology as a means of recycling energy on the Metro rail system. The system is "expansion ready" for up to six megawatts, through seamless additions of flywheel units in the future. 

Metro and VYCON officials recently met with representatives from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to review the favorable results of the agency’s first-of-a-kind use of flywheel technology to recycle power generated from rail cars

“With a 20-year operational life, our REGEN flywheel offers additional benefits for rail applications, including reducing peak power demand and providing voltage support with the potential for reducing the number of substations in a new or expanded rail line,” said Octavio Solis, director of engineering for VYCON. “We look forward to the project’s next steps including continually monitoring WESS performance and energy savings until summer of 2015 and then providing a final report with results of the one-year continuous operation.”

Acting as a mechanical battery, the VYCON REGEN system stores kinetic energy in the form of a rotating mass and is designed for high power, short-discharge applications. Patented technology used within this system includes a high- speed motor/generator, contact-free magnetic bearings used to levitate and sustain the rotor during operation, and a control system that provides system information and performance. These innovative technologies enable the VYCON system to charge and discharge at high rates for hundreds of thousands of cycles, making it an ideal energy storage solution for electric rail applications.

 

Background:
Each time an electrical train brakes and stops at a station, it has the capacity to regenerate energy, but often a great part of this capacity goes unused due to the lack of an energy storage device in the system. The result is wasted energy, typically converted into heat and dissipated into the air. Transit authorities such as L.A. Metro are looking at solutions for capturing braking energy from electric powered trains because this regenerated power results in greater energy and operational efficiencies. “There is a need for energy storage to lower energy consumption, lower creation of greenhouse gases, and the opportunity to lower operating and capital costs for substation infrastructure,” said DeLattre.

About VYCON:
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., VYCON is an innovator in the design and manufacturing of technologically advanced energy storage systems that enable a highly reliable, cost-effective and green energy storage solution for a variety of applications. VYCON’s products are applied in the power quality markets to provide back-up power in mission-critical applications and in the energy re-cycling markets for capturing and regenerating energy in, electric rail, crane and distributed generation applications. For more information on VYCON’s innovative green power solutions, contact VYCON at sales@vyconenergy.com or visit VYCON’s web site at: www.vyconenergy.com or see a short video about the REGEN Rail High Power Energy Storage System on YouTube http://bit.ly/ZSBuWi.

About Metro:

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. It serves as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder and operator for one of the country’s largest, most populous counties. More than 9.6 million people – nearly one-third of California’s residents – live, work, and play within its 1,433-square-mile service area. For more information, please visit http://www.metro.net/

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