Thermoelectric Solid-State Cooling Technology Wins $44.5M Funding

The near-term applications for Phononic’s science are high-end refrigeration for labs and medical facilities, as well as cooling for fiber optics and data servers that are “necessary to continue Moore’s law,” according to the company.

Source: www.greentechmedia.com

>” […] The 75-employee Phononic develops thermoelectrics — materials that can convert a temperature gradient to a voltage or vice versa. The technology is a brilliant pursuit, but no one has brought it to mass markets economically or at scale just yet. Traditional thermoelectrics use materials such as bismuth telluride or silicon germanium, and more recently, silicon nanowires.

[…] Phononic is looking to develop thermal management technology for consumer devices, and, more strikingly, to replace cheap, ubiquitous and century-old incumbent compressor technology.

CEO Anthony Atti told us this morning that the investment thesis around Phononic is that “semiconductors have revolutionized IT and LEDs, but have not had that same impact on cooling and heating.” He notes that Phononic’s thermoelectric technology is in the realm of Peltier cooling technology, but addresses three major shortcomings of that technology: efficiency, ability to scale, and ease of integration. […]

Atti claims that the compound semiconductor material used in his firm’s thermoelectrics can be manufactured using high-volume, standard semiconductor tools and equipment.

Bruce Sohn, the former president of First Solar, is on the board at Phononic. When we spoke with him this morning, he told us that he had been working with the firm for four years and believes the startup is doing something “revolutionary that can do to compressors what the [integrated circuit] did to the vacuum tube.”

Other companies developing thermoelectric technologies for cooling or capturing waste heat include the following:

  • Alphabet Energy is commercializing thermoelectric waste-heat harvesting technology developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has raised more than $30 million from Encana, a developer of natural gas and other energy sources,
  • TPG Biotech, Claremont Creek Ventures, and the CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund.GMZ Energy, spun out of MIT with funding from KPCB, BP Alternative Energy, and Mitsui Ventures, is working on a bismuth-telluride thermovoltaic device that converts solar heat directly into power via the Seebeck effect. In the Seebeck effect, a sharp temperature gradient can result in an electric charge.
  • MTPV describes its product as a thermophotovoltaic. MTPV uses a silicon-based MEMS emitter which takes heat and transfers radiation to a germanium-based photovoltaic device, according to an article inSemiconductor Manufacturing and Design. The company just raised $11.2 million led by Northwater Capital Management’s Intellectual Property Fund, along with Total Energy Ventures, SABIC, the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, and follow-on investments from Spinnaker Capital, Ensys Capital, the Clean Energy Venture Group and other existing shareholders.
  • Silicium, funded by Khosla Ventures, is investigating high ZT thermoelectrics. The firm’s website claims, “Silicium is developing silicon thermoelectrics that enable substantially increased battery longevity for wearable electronics. By using body heat, Silicium technology can help power an entire spectrum of wearable devices…using off-the-shelf silicon wafers.
  • “Recycled Energy Development (RED) and Ormat have retrofitted factories to capture waste heat, not using thermoelectrics, but by adding CHP or cogeneration. […]”<

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Fuel cell switched on at Cal State San Bernardino

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A new 1.4 MW utility-owned a fuel cell is now in full operation at Cal State San Bernardino.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>”Electricity generated by the fuel cell is going straight into the Edison grid, and the university will be able to utilize the waste heat it produces to preheat the campus heating system, resulting in an estimated annual savings of $120,000 from avoided natural gas costs,” said Tony Simpson, senior director of facilities services at Cal State San Bernardino.

The combined heat and power configuration —known as cogeneration — of the fuel cell will reduce the campus’s carbon dioxide emissions by lessening reliance on the high temperature hot water generators currently in operation. The fuel cell will continue to use natural gas to generate ultra-clean electricity through an electrochemical reaction, but because there is no combustion, unhealthful emissions are reduced.

Additionally, the fuel cell is highly efficient, generating more power from a given unit of fuel and lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to combustion-based power sources in a similar size range. Cogeneration DFC power plants can achieve total thermal efficiencies up to 90 percent, depending on the application.<

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84% Efficient Combined Heat & Power (CHP) Plant to be built by Siemens in Poland

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Through immediate publication of press releases, we keep the business, financial and public press informed on all important Siemens topics.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The plant will be built in western Poland in the city of Gorzów Wielkopolski. Within the scope of turnkey construction, Siemens will deliver two SGT-800 gas turbines, one SST-400 steam turbine, three 11 kilovolt (kV) generators and two heat recovery steam generators. In addition, Siemens was awarded a long-term 12 years maintenance agreement for the gas turbines. The Gorzów plant will be fired with nitrogen-rich natural gas from gas reserves located in western Poland. This type of gas has a lower calorific value than conventional natural gas. […]

The Gorzów power plant will replace a currently used coal-fired block at the same location. The combined cycle power plant with district heat extraction will be able to generate electricity in a much more efficient and environmentally friendly manner. Compared to the old coal-fired power plant, the new plant will produce 95 percent less sulfur dioxide emissions, more than 30 percent less nitrogen dioxide emissions and more than 95 percent less particulate emissions.<

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Alliance Pipeline partners with GE to turn waste heat into energy

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Whitecourt project is a first for the Calgary-based pipeline company

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

 The Whitecourt Recovered Energy Project captures exhaust heat from Alliance’s compressor stations northwest of Edmonton. The heat is transferred into a closed loop system and powers one of three 40,000-horsepower gas turbines at the site. The power system creates 14 megawatts of baseload electricity. It is expected to be tied into the provincial power grid in May 2013.

See on www.albertaoilmagazine.com