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AMERICAN FLYWHEEL SYSTEMS: FORMER EPA OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE NEW TECHNOLOGY THEY SAY COULD END AUTOMOBILE AIR POLLUTION

 AMERICAN FLYWHEEL SYSTEMS: FORMER EPA OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE NEW TECHNOLOGY THEY SAY COULD END AUTOMOBILE AIR POLLUTION
 SEATTLE, July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A company composed primarily of former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials and aerospace scientists today announced issuance of a patent for a technology the company believes will make the electric car a serious competitor to today's internal combustion-powered automobiles and, ultimately, put an end to the biggest cause of air pollution in the United States.
 American Flywheel System (AFS), Seattle, today unveiled an electric storage battery technology which may be the missing link in making electric cars competitive. Most major carmakers in the United States, Japan and Europe have announced electric car development programs in response to new Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards that were recently passed in California and are planned in at least 12 other states, but the car makers have said they expect limited consumer interest because the cars lack performance and range due to the limitations of current chemical batteries.
 Unlike current lead acid batteries, which can propel an electric vehicle only 50 to 100 miles on an overnight charge, the AFS battery would power an electric car 300 to 600 miles. In addition to range (energy density), AFS expects the first battery product from its technology to have at least five times the power density of even the most sophisticated experimental chemical batteries. In addition, unlike all other batteries, the AFS battery will store energy mechanically without using chemicals and without related toxic-waste, explosion and corrosion problems.
 The AFS flywheel mechanical battery stores energy kinetically in a mass rotating at very high speed in a vacuum enclosure, suspended by magnetic bearing and controlled by sophisticated electronics. The battery successfully passed computer simulation tests under contract with the U.S. Army in 1990, and plans for building the first test unit were revealed today with announcement of the just-issued patent, according to Edward W. Furia, AFS president and chief executive officer.
 Furia was a key figure in the first Earth Day in 1970 and was the first U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official to bring a Clean Air Act case when he was administrator of the EPA Middle Atlantic Region. Three of Furia's early EPA Middle Atlantic Region colleagues and two aerospace scientists formed AFS in 1990.
 Furia said that AFS intends to provide demonstration units to interested automobile companies in 10 to 12 months and to have units inside test automobiles the following year. "We recognize that consumers need more than environmental reasons to purchase electric cars. By giving electric cars long range, high performance and low cost, the flywheel electro-mechanical battery should change the way people view electric cars," Furia said.
 John Caldwell, a Philadelphia intellectual property lawyer at Woodcock Washburn Kurtz Mackiewicz & Norris who handled the 18-month effort to secure the patent for AFS, said, "This piece of technology is the missing link that has eluded scientists and inventors ever since the first electric car was invented a century ago."
 According to Furia, the AFS technology was invented by two aerospace scientists: Jack Bitterly, whose career began at the Lockheed "Skunkworks" in World War II and has included work in the NASA Lunar, Mars and Shuttle programs; and his son, Stephen, who spent most of the 1980s as an SDI ("Star Wars") physicist. After a national program for flywheel electro-mechanical energy storage, begun in 1977, stopped receiving government funds in 1983, the Bitterlys undertook private development efforts. Furia said that lessons learned in the space shuttle program were helpful in the critical balancing requirements of the high-speed rotating mass within the flywheel battery.
 -0- 7/2/92
 NOTE TO EDITORS: Detailed background information is available.
 /CONTACT: Timothy C. Kent of American Flywheel Systems, 206-454-1818/ CO: American Flywheel Technology ST: Washington IN: AUT SU: PDT


LM-SF -- SE007 -- 6288 07/02/92 15:51 EDT
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Date:Jul 2, 1992
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