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Power to the ports

Yorba Linda-based VYCON aims to help commercial shipyards cut emissions and store power.

by ben gibbsPublished: June 01, 2011

Yorba Linda-based VYCON is clear about its mission: re-examine, rethink and redefine how the world uses power.
   
And VYCON executives believe the company’s flywheel power systems could, indeed, forever change the way some industries – like commercial ports, for example – use and store power.
   
Under the recent San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Act Program, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach must cut 72 percent of their particulate emissions and 92 percent of their sulfur dioxide emissions by 2014.
   
“The VYCON system is the only technology that can work on reducing all of these emissions without maintenance or reliability concerns,” says company VP Louis Romo. “VYCON’s REGEN systems will reduce total crane emissions by 30 to 35 percent and cut fuel consumption by 15 to 20 percent.”
   
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach both plan to employ eight of these systems in the coming months to augment conventional generators in powering large equipment.
   
Romo says the secret is in VYCON’s flywheel technology: “A flywheel is a mechanical battery that has the capability to charge very rapidly and discharge with very high power levels.”
    The power demands of mobile cranes, like the ones used in ports, are sporadic and fleeting. Every few minutes, each crane expends a tremendous amount of energy lifting shipping crates and other heavy objects, only to cut power consumption drastically for other processes. However, in the downtime between lifts, diesel generators continue to use large amounts of energy. As a result, a significant amount of power is generated and then lost, with no active job to utilize it.
   
The VYCON flywheel is capable of capturing that free energy and reintegrating it back into port operations.
   
Even more impressive is the flywheel’s durability. Traditional batteries deteriorate with use. Because of the innovations made by VYCON, its flywheels last 20 years, regardless of operational demands.