LA Metro photo from Shutterstock

Today clean energy storage system manufacturer VYCON announced that it has been awarded a $3.6 Million contract by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to install a flywheel energy recovery system at the Red Line Westlake/MacArthur Park Station. LA Metro has already installed a photovoltaic system with a 2 Megawatt capacity, and now VYCON’s Wayside Energy Storage Substation (WESS) project will add another 2 Megawatts of green energy capacity to the rail system.

VYCON’s clean energy flywheel technology works by absorbing and storing energy generated by braking trains in the line. Once a train has stopped and picked up passengers, the flywheel system can return this stored energy to help the train accelerate. Subway cars are extremely massive and take a lot of energy to accelerate, so the system could save a significant amount of energy that would otherwise be wasted in the form of heat.

In addition to harvesting kinetic energy, VYCON’s cutting-edge WESS system can eliminate train slowdowns and starts and stops. It increases system reliability by providing greater power capacity. And it creates a redundant power source in case of power outages or emergencies.

The most promising impact of VYCON’s new clean-energy flywheel technology is that it could replace the chemical battery-based Traction Power Substation, which is the current technology that rail systems around the world use.