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Transphorm may redefine energy efficiency

Transphorm a Company backed by $38 million from leading venture capital firms Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital, and Lux Capital.  The firm’s new theoretical avenue to electric power conversion eliminates multi-billion dollar efficiency losses, by having a dramatic effect on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production.

The ‘secret sauce’ is due to the fact that power conversion modules are embedded in everything that has a motor, from hybrid cars to heavy-duty industrial equipment, as well as those ever present laptop and cellphone chargers. In short, any and all gadgets that needs to convert alternating (AC) current that is derived from a power outlet into direct (DC) current or vice versa.

The company announced it completed a $20 million Series C financing led by Google Ventures, with collaboration from existing venture investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital and Lux Capital. This brings the total capital raised from all rounds to $38 million.

Un-efficient power conversion of electricity produces hundreds of terawatts of lost energy across the electric grid, equivalent to 310 coal-fired power plants and squeezing the U.S. economy $40 billion plus a year. Leveraging synergistic breakthroughs in cutting edge materials and a world-class faction, Transphorm’s ultra-efficient and cost-competitive power modules cancel up to 90 percent of all electric conversion losses. From HVACs to hybrids, from servers to solar panels, Transphorm enables compelling energy savings across the grid.

“Since we deliver a complete solution from the original materials through to the final modules, we are in a position to rapidly innovate and deliver product in quick response to demand,” said Primit Parikh, President of Transphorm. “We look forward to helping our partners open a new era in ultra-efficient and compact power conversion.”

“We founded Transphorm to re-imagine what enhanced efficiency in the generation and use of electrical energy can do for our economy,” said Umesh Mishra, CEO of Transphorm. “Why put up with needless energy waste in every electrical system and device, when we can quickly and cost-effectively design products that are inherently energy efficient? Transphorm’s next-generation power modules cut waste, increase efficiency, reduce system size and simplify overall product design.”

Created by the experienced entrepreneurial team of Umesh Mishra and Primit Parikh, Transphorm brags world-class engineers, top business and manufacturing executives who will steer the commercialization of Transphorm’s technology.

“Solving the enormous problem of power waste will create immediate, long-term shared value for Transphorm’s customers and investors,” said Randy Komisar, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “It was imperative for our firm to get behind Transphorm because it is the first company with a viable, commercial-scale solution to energy losses associated with high-voltage power conversion.”

Transphorm delivers custom-designed power modules that are easy to implement in any electrical system, from consumer electronics products, to industrial motor drives, to inverters for solar panels and electric vehicles, and sells these modules to power equipment manufacturers.

“We recognize the need to innovate to uncover new opportunities for optimal energy efficiency,” said Toshihiro Sawa, Managing Director, Technology & Development Division of Yaskawa Electric Corporation. “The time is right to develop power conversion technologies that can cut power waste and reduce excess heat, and Transphorm provides a viable solution today.”

“It is imperative that power conversion efficiency be increased both to cut unnecessary losses and to save energy, but also to reduce waste heat which has negative impact on volume, weight, cost and reliability,” said Dr. Leo Casey, CTO, Satcon Corporation. “The innovations made by Transphorm offer an attractive solution to this problem.

The energy efficiency area is particularly appealing for search engine giant Google, as information technology conglomerates are increasingly pulled up on the energy efficiency of their behemoth data centers. With such high profile support and technology that is claimed to reduce energy losses 90 per cent, Transphorm is a product to keep the spotlight on.

The company plans to unveil its first product at the upcoming APEC conference, taking place in Fort Worth, Tex. from Mar. 6 -10, 2011.

That translates into your electric car traveling farther on one charge by making batteries more efficient or by eliminating excess battery weight from the vehicle. Bulky gadget chargers would disappear as power conversion modules are built into the devices. Solar panels would generate more electricity if the inverters that convert DC to AC become more efficient.  Hopefully this translates into savings passed onto consumers.

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