GKN buys Williams Grand Prix’s flywheel energy storage business

GKN is to acquire Williams Hybrid Power from Williams Grand Prix Engineering in what has been described as a multi-million pound deal. 

Williams Hybrid Power will be rebranded as GKN Hybrid Power, and Williams Grand Prix Engineering will receive additional fees based on future sales and licences of the flywheel energy storage technology transferred with Williams Hybrid Power to GKN.

Williams Hybrid Power has been majority owned by Williams Grand Prix Engineering since 2010, and is a technology SME developing electric flywheel energy storage technology.

The company was initially developed the technology for Williams’ 2009 Formula One car, but has since focused its attention on developing systems for the mass transit and automotive sectors.

Successes to date include supplying the flywheel energy storage system for the Le Mans winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro, a partnership with Go-Ahead Group to develop a system for urban buses, and a partnership with Alstom to develop flywheel technology for trams.

Williams say the technology offers fuel savings and emissions reductions of up to 30 per cent by harvesting the energy that is normally lost as heat when braking and turning it into additional power.

In a statement, 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. 

‘Williams Advanced Engineering continues to focus on delivering energy efficient solutions through incubating and developing new technologies that primarily originate within our Formula One operations, to a broad range of industry sectors including automotive, aerospace, and energy.’