Home Resorts World Manila VYCON Flywheels Environmentally Conscious

Resorts World Manila VYCON Flywheels Environmentally Conscious

By Frank DeLattre, President
VYCON Inc.

Resorts World Manila (RWM), the first integrated tourist destination, is the newest hot spot in the Philippines’ leisure and entertainment landscape, known for its world class gaming. The biggest venue of its kind in the country, RWM provides first-timers and seasoned pros with the ultimate gaming experience, offering three full floors of table games and slot machines. Keeping all of the entertainment systems fully operational while being environmentally conscious is an ongoing objective for the resort.

Getting into the Green Game
The Philippines government has made environmentally conscious living a strong goal. Currently, they are looking to modify the engines of the 500,000 diesel-filled jeepneys (a cross between a jeep and small bus) that serve as the country’s most common form of public transportation. A large contributor to the 70 percent of the black carbon emissions in urban areas, these jeepneys will be retrofitted with Australian technology that will result in a significant reduction in emissions.

Additionally, each year, the Philippines participates in Earth Hour, a program developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the world’s largest independent conservation organization, in which countries across the world pledge to switch off their lights on a specific day and time for one hour. Earth Hour was created with the intention of raising awareness about climate change and to inspire others to join the global fight against it.

Moreover,private companies in the Philippines are getting into the green game by incorporating environmentallyfriendly technologies into the workplace. These efforts help to improve energy efficiency andreduce carbon footprint while expanding the environmental consciousness of their employees.

Going All In
Clean, reliable power is crucial in safeguarding the functionality of casino slot machines, table games and Electronic Table Games machines. RWM’s power infrastructure is critical, requiring continuous support of casino operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If a power event was to occur and operations went down, RWM would not only suffer substantial revenue loss, but also incur major customer dissatisfaction. In the past, RWM faced several challenges in keeping equipment up and running, as the casino frequently experienced fluctuations and transient outages from their local utility provider.

“We definitely cannot afford power interruptions as we are running a premium business,” said Francis Rodney S. Fugen, Chief Engineering & Property Management Officer at RWM. “We must ensure that our machines are always operational because we lose a lot of revenuewhenever a machine is not running. It is therefore always a challenge to schedule equipment shutdown for preventive maintenance.”

RWM originally relied on uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) with lead-acid batteries to safeguard their casino equipment. To their disappointment, they found that the battery-based UPS systems where highly unreliable and unpredictable when called upon during an outage event.  In addition, the batteries took up a great deal of space,required expensive cooling and troublesome preventive maintenance. Once the batteries failed, additional challenges were experienced to assure proper disposal.

Tired of dealing with the drawbacks of battery-based UPS systems, RWM opted to improve the robustness and the performance of their back-up system by utilizing the VYCON VDC-XE flywheel energy storage system. Key benefits, such as cost efficiency, long equipment life, reduction in required preventive maintenance and green technology (lower carbon footprint) were all additional drivers for the decision. What’s more, as part of its Green Initiative for Electrical and Power Quality Management, RWM replaced the batteries of their parallel 100 to 400kVA UPSs with flywheels due to the need for high power and short discharge. If the resort experiences a prolonged power outage, the flywheel will quickly facilitate the transfer of the powerload to the property’s onsite generators.  RWM’s Property Management & Operations (Engineering) determined this as a high-impact project based on its potential financial, quantitative, and environmental benefits.

The high power density of the VDC-XE flywheel (figure 1) can free up 50 to 75 percent of space that would be taken up by an equivalent power rated battery bank. This lowers construction costs or allows space to be freed up to be used more productively, like additional gaming space that can add to the casino’s revenue generation. Also, unlike batteries, the VYCON VDC-XE does not require a temperature controlled environment – it can operate in temperatures from 0℃ to 40°C, so not only does it take up less space than batteries, it can be installed in less expensive space such as electrical equipment rooms instead of a computer room.

Raising the Ante on Power Quality 
Traditionally, facilities have relied on UPS backup for the safeguarding of mission-critical applications, including those for  data center, manufacturing, medical and broadcast operations. Many UPSs depend on valve-regulated lead-acid batteries as their energy storage solution. Unfortunately, this type of solution can be problematic, because even if there is only one bad cell in a battery string, it can take out the entire battery bank. In the best case scenario in which all batteries in the bank are active, each time they are cycled (used), they begin to degrade, becoming less responsive to the next event. Batteries also generate heat, and heat reduces battery life.

Besides taking up a lot of space, batteries require expensive cooling and contain hazardous chemicals, making disposal a constant issue. Batteries can also release explosive gases that must be ventilated away. Hazmat permitting, acid leak containment, floor-loading issues, slow recharge times, lead disposal compliance and transporting are important issues that have to be dealt with.

Flywheel Basics
The mechanics behindVYCON’s VDC-XE flywheel system is actually quite simple. Replacing lead-acid batteries used with UPSs, the flywheel works like a dynamic mechanical battery that stores energy kinetically by spinning a mass around an axis. Electrical input spins the flywheel rotor up to speed, and a standby charge keeps it spinning 24×7 until called upon to release the stored energy, such as in the event of a power outage. (Fig. 1) The amount of energy available and its duration is proportional to its mass and the square of its revolution speed.  For flywheels, doubling mass doubles energy capacity, but doubling rotational speed quadruples energy capacity:

E = kMw2

k – Depends on the shape of the rotating mass
M – Mass of the flywheel
ω – Angular velocity

When needed, the flywheel will supply reliable backup power instantly and seamlessly to the connected load, exactly as it would do with a battery string. Keep in mind that according to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), 80 percent of all utility power anomalies/disturbances last less than two seconds, and 98 percent last less than 10 seconds.

It’s these kinds of details that demonstrate the impact that energy-efficientflywheels can have on safeguarding mission-critical applications that require clean, reliable power. After all, if a power event were to happen at the resort, the results could not only disrupt gaming and upset customers, but could also potentially cause serious damage to equipment.

Energy Storage and the Environment
Through the years, energy storage has played a large role in how we harness and utilize power worldwide. According to the Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability, developing technology to store electrical energy is necessary to meet demand and represents a major industry breakthrough in electricity distribution. Energy storage devices have the capacity to manage the amount of power required to supply customers at times when need is greatest (peak load), ultimately helping to make renewable energy.

Despite the capabilities of energy storage systems like flywheels, when most individuals consider a power source – whether for a medical facility, a manufacturing plant or in this case, casino operations – batteries are often the first thing that comes to mind. They have traditionally been the go-to source in helping to control power fluctuations and provide back-up power for mission critical applications. Despite their familiarity, however, battery use can have serious drawbacks.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel which, if incinerated, can release into the air and cause serious harm to the environment. Many don’t realize that unregulated or informal means of extracting lead can result in the dissemination ofstaggering levels of contamination, often caused by the manual breaking of used lead-acid batteries (ULAB), which can lead to direct contact with hazardous chemicals. Leftover pieces of broken ULABs lying on the ground can spread hazardous contamination through additional contact with the skin.

Hitting the Jackpot with Strong ROI
The latest flywheel designs sold by world leaders in 3-phase UPS systems take advantage of higher speeds and full magnetic levitation, packing more green energy storage into a much smaller footprint. Thanks to VYCON’s patented flywheel technology, VYCON’s flywheels do not require any kind of bearing maintenance. This is important, as some flywheels on the market today require bearing maintenance and replacement to the tune of nearly $10,000 for each flywheel every few years. In addition, this bearing maintenance requires the system to be shut down for six to eight hours – not realistic in casinoand gamingenvironments. The overall cost-benefit ratio of VYCON’s systems is very attractive.  As shown in Figure 2, over a 20-year design lifespan, cost savings from a hazmat-free flywheel versus a 5-minute valve regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery bank are in the range of $100,000 to $200,000 per flywheel deployed.

The Big Payout
With its commitment toward green and sustainable development, RWM’s application of the VYCON flywheel proves to be the first in the integrated resorts industry, the country, and the region. Sincethe installation of VYCON’s flywheels in December of 2012, RWM has experienced several outagesdue to power fluctuations and short discharges from their local utility provider,testing the capabilities of the VYCON VDC-XE system. The flywheel system performed successfullyin each event and was able to help resume the proper function of thecasino equipment.

“VYCON suited our requirements with reliable customer support,” said Fugen. “We have seen the value of VYCON’s flywheel system and are confident that we will further reap the benefits of this investment.”

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