The increasing ownership of electric vehicles, in-home solar and wind generation, and wider penetration of renewable energies onto the power grid has created a need for grid-based energy storage to provide energy-neutral services. These services include frequency regulation, which requires short response-times, high power ramping capabilities, and several charge cycles over the course of one day; and diurnal load-/generation-following services to offset the inherent mismatch between renewable generation and the power grid's load profile, which requires low self-discharge so that a reasonable efficiency is obtained over a 24 hour storage interval. To realize the maximum benefits of energy storage, the technology should be modular and have minimum geographic constraints, so that it is easily scalable according to local demands. Furthermore, the technology must be economically viable to participate in the energy markets. There is currently no storage technology that is able to simultaneously meet all of these needs. This dissertation focuses on developing a new energy storage device based on flywheel technology to meet these needs. It is shown that the bearingless ac homopolar machine can be used to overcome key obstacles in flywheel technology, namely: unacceptable self-discharge and overall system cost and complexity. Bearingless machines combine the functionality of a magnetic bearing and a motor/generator into a single electromechanical device. Design of these machines is particularly challenging due to cross-coupling effects and trade-offs between motor and magnetic bearing capabilities. The bearingless ac homopolar machine adds to these design challenges due to its 3D flux paths requiring computationally expensive 3D finite element analysis. At the time this dissertation was started, bearingless ac homopolar machines were a highly immature technology. This dissertation advances the state-of-the-art of these machines through research contributions in the areas of magnetic modeling, winding design, control, and power-electronic drive implementation. While these contributions are oriented towards facilitating more optimal flywheel designs, they will also be useful in applying the bearingless ac homopolar machine in other applications. Example designs are considered through finite element analysis and experimental validation is provided from a proof-of-concept prototype that has been designed and constructed as a part of this dissertation.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2015. Major: Electrical Engineering. Advisors: Ned Mohan, Robert Nilssen. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 193 pages.
Bearingless AC Homopolar Machine Design and Control for Distributed Flywheel Energy Storage.
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