Power in Flux
  • Transphorm announces new AC-DC converter technology

    An article under the category of "Venture Capital" in my newspaper today, written by Mike Swift and Dana Hull of the Mercury News, reports that a "stealth" startup company, Transphorm (tricky name), says that it's new technology is capable of cutting the nation's electrical energy use by 10%. They say that they have developed a new power conversion technology to convert AC power into DC power.

    Transphorm announced that it has raised $20 million in a third round of funding, led by Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Foundation Capital and Lux Capital, bringing its total venture funding to $38 million.

    Founded in 2007, Transphorm predicted yesterday at a heavily attended media event at Google's Mountain View, CA, headquarters, that its electrical technology could ultimately save 10% of the nation's total power consumption - or roughly equivalent to 300 coal-fired power plants.

    The company says that its technology provides a 90% improvement in the efficiency of converting electricity from AC to DC. Rather than converters based on silicon, Transphorm's technology is based on gallium nitride, a metal that must be artificially manufactured. Nevertheless, "it is a miracle material for power conversion" that can make the electrical grids of the US and the developing world dramatically more efficient over the next 20 to 25 years, according to Umesh Mishra, the company's CEO.

    Outside experts caution that the company's technology remains unproven. Steve Greenberg, an energy management engineer at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory says "I am always skeptical of announcements that are touting the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's like, let's see the numbers."

    Transphorm plans to unveil its first product at an energy conference in Texas next month. Initially they plan to focus on power conversion for power-hungry data centers. Transphorm has also received a $2.95 million grant from the federal government's ARPA-E, which funds research into advanced energy technology.

    Randy Komisar, a partner with Kleiner Perkins, says that Transphorm "is not just a better, faster, cheaper enterprise, it is a brave new world enterprise".
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Transphorm announces new AC-DC converter technology started by Richard230 View original post
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