An innovative crane system allows cargo ports to dramatically cut the amount of diesel fuel they use to run generators. The REGEN system by VYCON Energy uses a flywheel to capture energy from the lowering of shipping containers.
A typical crane runs on a 500-800 kW generator to lift and then control the lowering of multi-ton containers. During the dropping of the container, the motor to runs in reverse, a situation where power could be generated, but is typically expelled as waste heat. The REGEN system capitalizes on this lowering part by absorbing that energy with the flywheel and feeding it back to the crane to be used immediately for the next lift. This allows the port to use smaller generators and, thus, less diesel fuel. Ports that have installed these systems have seen 30 - 45 percent reductions in fuel use.
The flywheel has a lifetime of about 20 years (no batteries to replace) and the company offers an installation kit for both existing and new cranes. The systems cost $120,000, but return on investment has been in about three-and-a-half to five years, which is pretty great for any energy-saving technology.
The systems are in use in China, Japan and other spots in Asia, and a lobbying group has formed in California to secure government money to install the systems there.
It makes you wonder, what other industries are missing the chance to generate energy from gravity?
via Greentech Media
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