Hatch Signs Testing Contract with ACEP’s Power Systems Integration Laboratory

On September 13, 2013, Hatch and UAF entered into a contract for Hatch to use ACEP’s Power Systems Integration Lab for the testing of a patented flywheel technology known as Magnetically Loaded Composite (MLC). The patent is held by Williams Engineering, who has partnered with Hatch for the purpose of further developing this technology.

As the share of power generated from an intermittent source—such  as wind—increases, maintaining the voltage and frequency stability of the power grid becomes increasingly challenging. Despite being considered a short-term storage device, the flywheel can be used in conjunction with long term storage devices, such as batteries, to reduce the batteries electrical current charge/discharge rate, reduce the batteries charge/discharge cycles and therefore extend the batteries lifetime and help undersize the battery system cost, footprint and power rating. This latter feature will be tested and demonstrated in ACEP’s lab. 

Because ACEP’s lab can be operated in a manner that simulates a village hybrid system, Hatch will also be using ACEP’s lab to develop control systems for integrating flywheel technology into a wind-diesel hybrid system. The advantage of the MLC flywheel technology is its potential for providing cost effective, continuous, deep power cycling with a very fast response time, not possible with steel flywheels.

While the effective date for the agreement is immediate, physical testing of the flywheel is not anticipated before early spring. Until physical testing of the flywheel begins, Hatch and ACEP will work together to instrument and collect data from an Alaskan utility that will be used to model expected flywheel performance, develop control systems, and finally to operate the lab in a manner that mimic the utility’s operations and the community’s electrical demand profile.