UK and US test naval power systems
The UK Ministry of Defence's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and GKN have developed a Flywheel Energy Storage System (FESS) to demonstrate an energy storage option for Royal Navy ships.
The project has demonstrated the capability to manage the energy demands of advanced future onboard capabilities such as the Dragonfire Laser Directed Energy Weapon currently being developed by Dstl and industry partners.
The tests were carried out at the Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems facility in the US and the Power Networks Demonstration Centre in Scotland, UK. Both nations utilised a Power Hardware-In-the-Loop approach, where a ‘real’ FESS was integrated into a virtual ship power system emulating a Royal Navy ship operating in real-time. This approach offers a cost effective way to develop the hardware and de-risk its integration into a real ship, as well as to develop control and operating approaches.
The work forms part of a planned wider de-risking activity to enable the Royal Navy to successfully integrate future energy intensive loads.
The FESS system is based on Le Mans motor-sport technologies and uses high-speed and lightweight flywheels to provide high-power electrical pulses that future systems require, reducing the impact of these systems to the rest of the ship, while avoiding safety concerns around battery-based systems.
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