In a deal worth £8m ($13m), GKN is to acquire Williams Grand Prix Engineering’s flywheel energy storage business, Williams Hybrid Power (WHP).
Under the terms of the deal, WHP will become GKN Hybrid Power, and Williams Grand Prix Engineering will receive additional fees based on future sales and licences of the flywheel energy storage technology.
WHP designs and manufactures composite flywheel-based energy storage systems for the bus, truck and tram markets. GKN has been working with WHP to validate the technology, and will now “use its global resources and manufacturing capability to maximise the commercial opportunities that exist,” the company said in a statement.
WHP developed the technology for Williams’ 2009 Formula One car, but more recently has focused on systems for the mass transit and automotive sectors. The company says its technology offers fuel savings and emissions reductions of up to 30% by harvesting the energy that is normally lost as heat when braking, and converting it to additional power.
WHP has supplied a flywheel energy storage system for the Le Mans-winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro, developed a system for urban buses in partnership with Go-Ahead Group, and developed flywheel technology for trams in partnership with Alstom.
Mike O’Driscoll, group CEO of Williams, said: “GKN have the resources and expertise to fully realise the enormous potential of the motorsport-proven flywheel technology, primarily within a variety of public transport applications.”