Terrajoule Raises $11.5M for Distributed Solar Power and Energy Storage Tech.

November 06, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Terrajoule Corp., developers of a flexible technology platform for distributed energy generation, energy storage (at a cost five times lower than today's batteries), and energy efficiency, today announced an $11.5 million Series A round of funding. Investors include global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA); Air Liquide Investments in the future And Demonstration (ALIAD), the capital development company of Air Liquide; and individual investors.

ALIAD, part of Air Liquide’s Advanced Business and Technologies network, is the Air Liquide subsidiary dedicated to investing in young innovative companies offering differentiating technologies. The Terrajoule technology that converts waste heat to electricity provides Air Liquide with the means of increasing energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of hydrogen units while improving competitive financial factors.

“Terrajoule’s energy storage solution removes a fundamental obstacle to the next few decades of sustainable energy growth worldwide,” said Arno Penzias, NEA Venture Partner, Nobel Prize winner (Physics 1978) and Terrajoule advisor. “Since NEA’s initial investment in 2009, the company has made outstanding technological progress, and we’re excited to partner with Terrajoule in its next stage of growth.”

NEA General Partner Forest Baskett added, “In addition to the core technology, we really like Terrajoule’s approach to the market. By working through channel partners in industrial, agricultural and other sectors, the company can scale to play a major role in worldwide energy markets without the massive capital requirements that have posed significant challenges to other new energy technologies.”

Terrajoule’s technology platform leverages a breakthrough in energy storage technology yielding a cost five times lower than today’s batteries and without degradation or cycle limitations over a 25-year system life. The result is continuous, on-demand solar power generation, from 100 kW to 20 MW, with a compelling payback compared to diesel-based off-grid and on-grid power. The company is targeting a number of applications in the industrial and agricultural sectors including distributed electricity production, especially in locations with electrical grids that are inadequate to support economic growth, and waste heat recovery to improve the efficiency of industrial operations.

An essential characteristic of the Terrajoule system is its ability to rapidly respond to changes in load, functioning equivalently to the diesel generators it replaces, and without volatile fuel costs. Energy storage is based on pressurized saturated water, with 98% storage/retrieval efficiency. Energy conversion is performed via reciprocating steam piston engines that are highly efficient across a wide range of operating power. The system generates steam through mature solar concentrator technology.

“Developing a game-changing energy storage solution, is about more than technology. We’ve focused on building the right value proposition, market channels, and capital partners to build a business with global reach and scale without depending on government subsidies,” said Steve Bisset, Terrajoule Co-Founder and CEO. “With our early customer successes, the ongoing support of NEA, and now in partnership with Air Liquide, we are excited bring the Terrajoule innovation in energy storage to key global markets.”

Other major investors in the round include Jim Bochnowski (Menlo Park, California) and Craig Winkler (Australia). Greg Fleming, an investment director at Air Liquide, has joined Terrajoule’s board of directors.