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Chakratec secures funding for flywheel fast-charging

Illustration of Chakratec EV charging system.

Start-up secures US$4.4m for its EnerQube kinetic storage system, which it says offers an alternative to chemical batteries in fast-charging applications

Much of the recent buzz around grid-scale energy storage tends to focus on batteries, whether they are Li-ion or other chemistries. But many technology developers are finding success with various forms of kinetic storage, whether in the form of compressed air (CAES), pumped hydro or flywheels.

One Israeli start-up is looking to make the latter technology work in smaller applications too, notably as a charging method for electric vehicles. Chakratec says it has developed a “unique” system using kinetic flywheel batteries, which can discharge at high power capacities, and “tens to hundreds of thousands” of charge and discharge cycles over a lifespan of 20 years.

This week, the company announced the close of its third financing round, in which it raised US$4.4 million to help pilot its technology with in Europe, in partnership with three utilities. Capital from the iArgento Group and Singapore-based Goldbell will be added to the US$3.2 million already raised in previous rounds.

Chakratec says its EnerQube 3000 technology will be useful in enabling high-power fast charging without the associated cost of upgrading local infrastructure. Each kinetic battery can provide up to 3 kWh at a peak power of 6 kW, at a voltage of 380-750V DC, according to the company’s website, and weighs 250 kg. Multiple units can be stacked together in parallel for higher output and added redundancy, in configurations up to 3 MWh.

The flywheel will charge from energy from main supplies and discharge at the desired power level when required, with a round trip efficiency of 85%.

Although it did not provide a cost figure, the company claims to offer “a very low cost per kWh cycle”.

The company is confident that successful trials of the system in Europe will lead to orders for the technology within the year.

Given the lower efficiency of this system, ElecTrans reckons it will still make more sense to upgrade local infrastructure over installing storage systems. However in remote locations that require additional storage, or environments where batteries may underperform, solutions such as these could become a necessary component of the charging infrastructure.




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