Maxwell von Stein developed a Flywheel Bicycle which takes energy from braking and stores it in a revolutionary device. The flywheel is making a comeback and it is forcing innovators to re-investigate the accepted limitations of energy storage. This simple piece of technology has been used years ago in Victorian-era Europe. It allows for energy to be stored kinetically, instead of requiring chemicals as in modern lithium-ion or hydrogen fuel cell batteries.
Maxwell’s Flywheel Bicycle stores energy in a similar way as how hybrid automobiles absorb energy from braking. In a hybrid car, the kinetic energy which is normally wasted during the braking process is redirected into the battery. But instead of directing energy into a battery, Stein’s Flywheel Bicycle takes braking energy and uses it to spin a 15 pound flywheel.
Since objects in motion tend to stay in motion, a well-constructed flywheel can keep spinning for a significant duration. If a person wants to extract energy from a flywheel, they can use gears to decrease the speed of the flywheel and redirect that energy to another wheel or gear. In the case of the Flywheel Bicycle, the energy is redirected to the rear wheel, which provides extra speed to the bike without needing to pedal.
This technology could come in very handy for a person who lives in a hilly city like San Francisco. Cyclists in San Francisco need to use their brakes when going downhill. But when they want to go uphill on a street like Powell, which is relatively steep, the extra power from the flywheel would be very beneficial.
An interesting fact about this device is that the flywheel originally came from a Porsche engine. That doesn’t come as a surprise because Maxwell von Stein has experience working as a Drivetrain Engineer for Brooklyn Motorized. There he worked on advanced technology for motorcycles. So he has experience taking apart vehicles of all sorts.
Check out the video below. It is well produced and it shows the concept and finished product of the Flywheel Bicycle in full detail.
SOURCES: fastcoexist.com – 15-Pound, Retro-Tech Flywheel Helps You Pedal Your Bike To Tomorrow – http://www.fastcoexist.com/1678410/15-pound-retro-tech-flywheel-helps-you-pedal-your-bike-to-tomorrow – Accessed: December 27th, 2011
sciencefriday.com – Video Pick: Flywheel Bicycle – http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201108126 – Retrieved: December 27th, 2011
linkedin.com – Maxwell von Stein – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/maxwell-von-stein/37/45b/824 – Retrieved: December 27th, 2011