LightSail Energy

LightSail Energy

LightSail Energy was a Berkeley, California based company developing above-ground compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems

LightSail Energy was a developer of energy storage systems designed to use compressed air for grid scale energy storage technology. The company's energy storage systems changed focus from a vehicle based technology to try and modernize the electrical grid and deliver on demand solar and wind energy. The compressed air technology would have enabled clients to get low cost and efficient energy storage options.

LightSail, founded in 2008, was initially developing a product focused on using compressed air to power a scooter. Their focus shifted to compressed-air power generators that could fit inside a shipping container around 2012.

Compressed Air Storage

LightSail Energy's aim was to compress air to create heat and then use the energy generated to power energy grids. Their solution promised to be cheaper and cleaner than fossil fuels and would allow renewable sources such as wind power and solar energy to be stored for later use. To harness the energy, LightSail injected a mist of water spray which absorbed the heat and allowed it to be stored in shipping container system or underground caverns. The energy could then be redistributed back to the grid when demand required it.

A key part of LightSail's solution was to create specialized carbon fiber tanks for their compression and thereby achieve a relatively inexpensive and scalable storage solution for surplus renewable energy.

In 2015, LightSail Energy pivoted to manufacturing pressurized tanks to yield short term profits until their storage product was complete. Danielle Fong tweeted their first compressed tank sale in 2016. In late 2017, LightSail Energy entered what they called "hibernation" as they ran out of funding.

Funding

LightSail Energy received more than $70 million in funding until it closed in 2017. Funding included investments from Peter Thiel, Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla.

When Thiel invested in the company in 2012, he said in a statement,

LightSail is run by engineers, not salespeople, and it promises to be one of the first true alternative energy storage companies.

Competitors

Competitor's to LightSail Energy include SustainX and General Compression who were both independently chasing compressed air technology. Both companies merged in 2015 and abandoned plans for above ground air compression technology. Other compressed air energy storage competitors include Hydrostor and Apex-CAES.

Other energy storage competitors include Energy Vault, which develops gravity-based energy storage systems; Primus Power, which develops flow batteries; Vionx Energy, which develops flow batteries; National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is developing high temperature, low cost thermal energy storage systems; Brayton Energy, which is developing a storage system combining thermal storage and a gas turbine; Form Energy, which is developing an energy storage system using a sulfur and water-based solution; Quidnet Energy, which is developing a modified pumped hydro energy storage system using sub-surface rocks; Echogen Power Systems, which is developing a storage system using carbon dioxide heat pump cycle to convert energy; United Technologies Research Center which is developing an energy storage system based on new flow battery chemistry; and Antora Energy, which is developing a thermal energy storage system using carbon blocks.

Timeline

December 19, 2017

LightSail Energy enters 'hibernation' as company runs out of cash

Funding rounds

Funding round
Funding type
Funding round amount (USD)
Funding round date
Investment
LightSail Energy funding round, November 2012
37,300,000
November 5, 2012
4 Results
Results per page:
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People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

Abe Fetterman

Employee

Alexandre Klaeylé

Investor

Amy Tiller

Employee

Andrew Falcone

Employee

Ben Farrant

Employee

Brian Bowyer, MBA

Employee

Brian Hogan, Ph.D.

Employee

Calvin Chin

Investor

Chantae Lucero

Employee

Danielle Fong

Investor

Dipankar Sahoo

Employee

eric johnson

Employee

kevin walter

Employee

Liam McNamara

Employee

Maria Schriver

Employee

Olivier Causse

Employee

Philip le Roux

Investor

Ramez Naam

Investor

Rebecca Motola-Barnes

Employee

Rod Susperreguy

Employee

Sebastian Manchester

Employee

Thomas Quinn

Employee

Thomas Rankin

Investor

Travis OGuin

Employee

Vinod Khosla

Investor

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Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

LightSail Energy Enters 'Hibernation' as Quest for Game-Changing Energy Storage Runs Out of Cash

Julian Spector

Web

December 19, 2017

LightSail Energy Storage and the Failure of the Founder Narrative | GTM Squared

Eric Wesoff

Web

May 26, 2016

Meet the 27-year-old inventor backed by Bill Gates and Peter Thiel

Matt McCue

Web

December 31, 2014

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

Companies

Company
CEO
Location
Products/Services

References

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