An Air Compressor That Silicon Valley Loves

By Alexis C. Madrigal

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

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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.


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/07/an-air-compressor-that-silicon-valley-loves/260089/