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Old 06-12-2008, 09:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There were experiments with this in the 1970s as far as I know. The flywheel was in a vacuum chamber, otherwise the air drag on the flywheel would rob a lot of energy. I think the use of this was regenerative braking. That would be a good use of the trailer, too. If you have to put useful energy into the flywheel, there is no advantage. If you can store energy that would be wasted, then great.

As far as how to get it spinning: Variable displacement swashplate pump on the trailer wheels, driving a hydraulic motor on the flywheel. The efficiency is not great, but neither is a generator> controller> flywheel-motor combination. With the swashplate flat, no fluid is pumped to the motor. As the swashplate tilts, more fluid goes to the motor. I think an additional pump and motor would be needed to get the energy out of the flywheel again. Electric clutches could disconnect the hydraulics when not in use to reduce parasitic loads of the hydraulic system.

Disadvantages: weight, gyroscopic effect, overspeeding the flywheel causes rupture.
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