What started as a design project in
mechanical and aerospace engineering student Kristen Brouwer’s senior design class has evolved into a full-blown business. Brouwer and three of her classmates took an existing patent for a regenerative braking flywheel and created FlyDrive, which makes a flywheel that replaces the battery in electric and hybrid cars. They are bringing their flywheel to market.
“In a Prius, for instance, when you brake, the electric motors are charged, which then charge the battery,” says Brouwer. “With our flywheel, it’s just as efficient in returning energy and doesn’t have to be replaced. And it’s environmentally better than batteries because it doesn’t use chemicals.”
Brouwer and teammates Jordan Lajoie, Luke Voigt, Kris Bosma and Cleveland Institute of Art industrial design student Adam Lauser have been developing the flywheel for market since September. “Most of our developments have stemmed from market identification and development as well as creating a preliminary concept for implementing the flywheel in a transportation system,” says Brouwer.
FlyDrive will be competing in the Ohio Clean Energy Challenge
semi-finals next week, where they will compete for $10,000 and the chance to move on the Midwest regional competition in Chicago. The company has been assessing licensing options in the meantime.
“We’re waiting to see if we make it to the next level of competition,” says Brouwer. “It’s been a great learning experience.”
Source: Kristen Brouwer
Writer: Karin Connelly