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 Flywheel Pulse-and-Glide System Improves Drivetrain Efficiency

In order to conserve fuel, drivers can use a “pulse-and-glide” driving technique, accelerating and decelerating an automobile in cycles of approximately 10-30 seconds. While this technique can be an effective way to improve fuel economy, it requires sustained attention from the driver. Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have automated the pulse-and-glide technique using a flywheel energy storage system. The pulse-and-glide flywheel presents an economical, reliable, and long-term solution to dramatically improve the gas mileage performance of internal combustion engines (ICEs). Unlike chemical batteries, which have a short life span and high replacement costs, flywheels provide the power and energy requirements necessary for a pulse- and-glide technique.


  • Fuel-efficient: Offers a 40-100 percent increase in highway gas mileage over existing internal combustion or battery hybrid systems
  • Durable: Provides energy storage for approximately 10 years
  • High-power density: Delivers power and energy between 8-20 kilowatts (kW) and 2-3.5 kilowatt hours (kWh)
  • Easy to use: Automates pulse-and-glide to improve fuel economy
  • Decreased emissions: Reduces CO2 emissions and improves efficiency

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    • Commercial ICE vehicles
    • Hybrid vehicles
    • Transportation systems

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       Technology Details 

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      NASA GRC is seeking patent protection for this technology.

      For inquiries about this technology, please reference LEW-18963-1.

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       Licensing and Partnering Information 

      For information and forms related to the technology licensing and partnering process, please visit the Working with GRC section of our Web site.

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      If you would like more information about this technology, please contact:

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      • Page Last Updated:
        October 14, 2014
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      • NASA Official: