After using up nearly all its non-renewable energy sources, the human race is in the maddening quest for alternative energies capable of carrying forward this huge civilization. But it is again the indomitable spirit of human race that inspires it discover new energy sources to tap. The relentless human quest for new energy sources is spinning out billion-dollar industries, such as the one that depends on the technology for the conversion of waste heat into electricity. Alphabet Energy Inc. is a new player that seeks to commercialize a waste heat recovery technology. The said technology was developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and makes one of the n inexpensive technologies for energy generation.
Alphabet Energy has recently received just the right kind of boost for its ongoing research and development on the technology. The company has announced that it has received $1 million in seed financing from Claremont Creek Ventures (CCV) and the California Clean Energy (News - Alert) Fund (CalCEF). The company said that the grant will be expended on manufacturing commercial prototype devices on existing semiconductor infrastructure.
To meet with success, the companies operating in such challenging sector need continuous flow of funding. Luckily, for this one year old start up, finance has never been an issue. It had previously received $320,000 in Small Business Innovation Research grants from the U.S. Army and Air Force and the Department of Energy.
It also raised a similar amount in angel funding in 2009 from leading energy investors with deep experience in power generation projects and industrial installations.
Barely one year in the industry and the company has earned much recognition from the industry. It has won several awards from the Clean Tech Open, including their People's Choice Award, the California Sustainability Award, and national runner-up.
Alphabet Energy aspires to grab a lion's share of the potential $200 billion world market for sales of core technology for the conversion of waste heat into electricity. The technology is expected to offset as much as 500 million metric tons of carbon per year. Alphabet's break-through thermoelectric materials can be used to turn heat directly into electricity in applications such as metals refining, cement and glass production, power generation, automotive and aerospace, and military.
Thermoelectric materials are semiconductors that, when placed in a temperature gradient, generate electricity in the solid state -- with no moving parts.
The company's proprietary thermoelectric technologies are also highly suitable for miniaturization. The output range of power generation systems incorporating Alphabet's thermoelectrics can range from microwatts to megawatts.
The investors have great faith in the company's potentials.
"Alphabet has massive growth potential in the emerging waste heat recovery market, one that is low-hanging fruit for efficiency-based cost savings in our economy," said Tom King the lead angel investor in Alphabet and a partner at U.S. Renewables Group.
"There is no question that the United States and the rest of the world have to embrace energy efficiency solutions, and Alphabet has enormous potential to be the first broadly deployed commercial thermoelectric technology to save billions of dollars worth of electricity in the field of waste heat recovery," Paul Straub, a principal at Claremont Creek Ventures said.
Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Alice Straight