Frequently asked questions

Flywheels have been around for many years. What’s different about Helix Power?


Our advanced flywheel design is a substantial improvement in flywheel design. Core to our innovation is the management of heat that allows us to get to high power levels in a compact unit. Our combination of high power levels, in a small form factor, make us uniquely suited to capture energy markets that have been sub-optimally addressed by other technologies.




How does the Helix Power technology relate to battery storage technology? Any why can’t batteries do it all?


Helix Power technology is a high-cycle/short-duration storage system designed for applications with dozens or hundreds of cycles in a day. We anticipate hybrid systems with Helix technology serving as an active front end supporting high power cycling requirements and batteries providing long duration storage and energy capacity. In such a system, total system performance will be enhanced, costs reduced, and battery asset life extended..




Why can’t the other established flywheel companies (e.g., Active Power) do what Helix is doing and compete in these markets more effectively?


Our system is designed at 1MW in a compact unit. This level of energy density cannot be achieved with current designs and allows for access to market applications that are not well served by existing systems.




How is the Helix Solution different from the Beacon Solution? Beacon Power did not make it. How and why will Helix Power be able to make it.


Beacon Power build flywheels for two frequency regulation plants. Fundamentally, batteries are also a good solution in frequency regulation markets due to the relatively low cyclic content (6-8 cycles/day) of the market. Helix technology is a higher power unit capable of hundreds of cycles per day and therefore can address markets that are difficult for other technologies to serve economically.




Helix Power is dealing with complex customers. How do you plan to sell and distribute to customers such as utilities, transit authorities, or port authorities?


We plan to partner with an industrial strategic partner in the heavy equipment space building complementary products to leverage relationships with large customers.




What customer problem have we been asked to solve, and what is the customer economic benefit that would compel them to purchase our product?


For the rapid transit market, we have been asked to increase efficiency and dramatically reduce energy use. Helix systems have the potential to reduce approximately 30% of the energy for traction power and reduce the total cost of the operation.




What is your manufacturing plan, i.e., the plan to make components and your plan for assembly?


Helix is currently working with four major strategic suppliers for the composite rotor, magnetic bearings, motor/ generator and power electronics, and plans to continue with them into production. Through competitive bidding process, Helix has selected a supplier for all the machine components. For the assembly and testing, Helix will be working with a strategic supplier in New York.




Where does Helix Power plan to be in five (5) years and what is the Helix exit plan?


We are developing hardware that will integrate with power system equipment in a variety of markets. We anticipate a close partnership with a large industrial company manufacturing other components of power systems and selling to similar companies. We view the mostly likely exit as a trade sale to such a partner.




What are the major engineering/ technical risks facing Helix Power going forward and your risk abatement plan?


We have completed detailed independent design reviews and we have assessed a low overall technical risk moving forward. We have intentionally over engineered the initial system to allow for full power performance without unduly stressing the system. In addition, this allows us the flexibility to increase motor/generator size within the same structure.




What is the Helix timeline to commercialization?


We anticipate a full-scale build and test in 2022 and deployment at a customer site in 2023. To that end, Helix was awarded a $2.5M grant from NYSERDA to design and build the first system. There is $1.5M remaining on this grant with a 50% matching requirement.





Have more questions?  Please contact us!