An Air Compressor That Silicon Valley Loves

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LightSail Energy is a rare company. They make a piece of industrial machinery *and* investors think they can deliver venture capital-level returns.

The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal in conversation with industry entrepreneurs shaping our future. See full coverage

Why? The air compressor may be radically more efficient than those currently used, and if they are, they could become the key to a renewable energy future. That's because compressed air could be used to store wind and solar energy, which would allow them to compete more directly with baseload power sources. Even outside the renewables space, it'd be nice for utilities to be able to store electricity. It'd reduce the peak amount of generating capacity they need, which often far exceeds every day usage.

Last week, we introduced you to one of LightSail's cofounders, Dani Fong, a one-time middle school dropout and Princeton PhD student. In these two videos, she explores her company's technology and describes how she sees the future of our energy system.


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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