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11/05/2012 11:28 AM     print story email story  

LightSail Energy Closes $37 Million Round

SustainableBusiness.com News

Energy storage technology developer LightSail Energy has raised $37.3 million in a Series D round, which will enable the company to bring its first products to market.

The company's breakthrough technology is based on compressed air and has the potential to "democratize energy - to enable renewable energy sources to supply energy on demand locally and at a lower cost than centralized fossil-fuel based generation," they say.

Its megawatt-scale energy storage products are based on the "most humble, but most available and lowest-cost material - air," they say. The technology converts electrical energy to compressed air, and then reverses the process to deliver electrical energy again when it's needed, all while keeping losses to a minimum.

San Francisco investor Peter Thiel led the round. Khosla Ventures, which incubated the company and led LightSail's earlier rounds, also participated, along with Bill Gates, Innovacorp, and others.

"The power grid needs cheap, reliable energy storage, but every single solution to date has been only incremental. LightSail takes a completely different approach that's based on fundamental thermodynamics. They have the potential to totally disrupt the electricity industry's assumptions with reliable grid-scale storage at a fraction of the cost of today's battery technology. When deployed, LightSail's technology would reduce the need for transmission line investment, peak power plants, and make renewable energy practical and mainstream for the first time," says Vinod Khosla.

Founded in 2009, LightSail Energy applies thermodynamics (the science of heat transfer and utilization) to solve the problems of today's electrical grid. The lack of economical energy storage at megawatt scale has limited the penetration of renewable energy generation, such as wind and solar, in many parts of the world and has limited grid transmission capacity. LightSail's technology makes power available when it's needed, not just when it's available. LightSail also helps to manage the increasing demand for peak power, making the entire grid more reliable and more practical for erratic renewable sources of energy.

Danielle Fong, LightSail's co-founder and Chief Scientist has been honored by Forbes Magazine as one of 30 "under 30" energy innovators.



Reader Comments (1)

Author:
Keef (scam destructor) Wivanef

Date Posted:
12/18/12 07:31 AM

I call BULLSHIT on this one. Smells like another GREEN WIDGET SCAM! Of course we are all looking for renewable energy improvements but there is nothing new in this idea. Compressed air storage is inefficient, uneconomic and dangerous. Many companies have sprung up claiming to have solved the problems by using an adiabatic process. Nothing ever eventuates except that the company directors get to drive around in Ferraris for years spending investors and taxpayers money whilst delivering nothing but excuses. Warm water is not a rare commodity! If it was really that simple to generate more energy by the addition of a little hot water then you'd be on a winner. Why in the world do you need $37M ? You claim it is a low cost system. Why don't you go ahead and build a few systems and SELL them? (Better mousetrap, beating a path to your door etc.) No, much more fun to be had from a GREEN WIDGET SCAM. Original investors (claim) to be putting in $37M and wait for the dummies to climb on board. Original investors take back their money (with interest) and leave the bag-holders to enjoy the "trough of disappointment" A hype cycle in Gartner's interpretation comprises five phases: "Technology Trigger" — The first phase of a hype cycle is the "technology trigger" or breakthrough, product launch or other event that generates significant press and interest."Peak of Inflated Expectations" — In the next phase, a frenzy of publicity typically generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations. There may be some successful applications of a technology, but there are typically more failures."Trough of Disillusionment" — Technologies enter the "trough of disillusionment" because they fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. Consequently, the press usually abandons the topic and the technology."Slope of Enlightenment" — Although the press may have stopped covering the technology, some businesses continue through the "slope of enlightenment" and experiment to understand the benefits and practical application of the technology."Plateau of Productivity" — A technology reaches the "plateau of productivity" as the benefits of it become widely demonstrated and accepted. The technology becomes increasingly stable and evolves in second and third generations. The final height of the plateau varies according to whether the technology is broadly applicable or benefits only a niche market. Of course in the case of GREEN SCAMS - there is never any plateau ......just a trough....with directors snouts deeply in it! (Hat, knife and fork on standby)

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