L.A. Metro's VYCON system reducing energy consumption

Posted on October 31, 2014

VYCON 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 realizing nearly 20% 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.

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 FTA and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to review the favorable results of the agency’s first-of-a-kind use of flywheel technology to recycle power generated from railcars

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.

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