December 04 2008 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy Year: 2017 Rating: 3
While most companies are focused on growth opportunities around powering homes, cars and factories of the future, some entrepreneurs and startups are targeting another 'next big thing' in micro-power and energy storage systems.
What's the Big opportunity around Small devices?
A new era of expanded integration of smart sensors and microcontrol systems is likely to change our world, in the same way computer chips and PCs did in the last half of the 20th cenutry. Technology futurists call this the 'embedded age', or era of ubiquitous and pervasive computing. Even IBM sees a Smart Planet based on an 'instrumented world' where the number of sensors and micro-devices feeding small bits of data onto the 'web' vastly outnumbers today's connected 'computers and servers'.
Imagine new information flows from every product, car, boat, airplane, person, pet, and farm animal all being gathered by low-powered sensors. Imagine building a global smart infrastructure where every connection point along the energy grid, highway and pipeline is monitored in real-time. All these embedded devices sending small packets of mundane, but important data. Each of these devices will need small amounts of power and an integrated energy storage system.
This could be one of the biggest market opportunities in energy over the next century- powering billions of new portable gadgets, sensors (e.g RFIDs), and micro-electromechanical (MEMS) devices integrated into future everyday objects.
Seeing a future in 'Energy Harvesting'
Colorado-based Infinite Power Solutions, Inc. (IPS) has raised a Series B round of $13 million to commercialize its solid-state, rechargeable thin-film battery that could be used to 'harvest' ambient energy from micro-power systems driven by light, motion, or heat. Energy futurists imagine these types of energy storage systems integrated into other micro power systems, rather than rely on the old battery schematic of plugging into a wall socket.
The money will go to ramp up volume production of its new THINERGY™ micro-energy cell (MEC™) product family from its new (and 'the world’s first') facility for volume manufacturing of solid-state,rechargeable thin-film batteries.
A Little Energy Device with Big Backers
Infinite Power Systems' branded THINERGY 'micro energy cells' are promoted as a new class of ultra-thin and flexible electronic components that can provide nearly lossless energy storage for new micro power and 'ambient power' systems like solar, thermal heat capture and piezoelectric devices.
Internet pioneer turned energy investor, Bob Metcalfe, is General Partner at investor Polaris Venture Partners and an IPS director, believes “IPS’ thin-film micro-batteries, or as we like to call them, micro-energy cells, offer important new capabilities to the 10 billion embedded controllers shipped every year. With our robust rechargeable MECs, microcontrollers can be equipped with energy harvesting and wireless networking to find wide application in environmental sensing and energy management.”
IPS has some well known investors including D. E. Shaw Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners who led the Series B round. They were joined by the company’s other existing investors Core Capital Partners, Applied Ventures LLC (the venture capital arm of Applied Materials) and In-Q-Tel.
Infinite Power Solutions, Inc. (IPS) a U.S. based clean-technology company, is the global leader in developing, marketing and manufacturing solid-state, rechargeable thin-film micro-energy storage devices for a variety of micro-electronic applications. Founded in 2001, IPS is privately held with corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities in the western suburbs of Denver, CO. The company has completed the build-out of the world’s first volume manufacturing facility dedicated to the production of its revolutionary thin-film micro-energy cell (MEC™) products (often referred to as thin-film batteries).
This recent financing follows a $35.7 million Series A round in 2006