Stealth start up Linum Systems, founded just last year by Yuval Berson and Amir Hirshfeld, and discovered here by our own Green Prophet in June, was the only Israeli company selected to present their advanced green technologies to the ARPA-E sponsored NREL Clean Energy Opportunity Forum in Denver, Colorado this Fall. Only 34 companies made the cut.
Under the Obama administration; ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) was set up within the Department of Energy, to advance potential major clean energy solutions to the climate crisis. Only super high-risk, high-reward clean energy technologies are selected.
The forum gave the 34 selected presenters a chance for one-on-one ten minute pitch time with 45 key clean tech investors, ranging from California VC superstars like Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers – to California electric utility PG&E.
But actually, a utility considering VC funding is not as strange as it seems.
Under the Democrats’ Recovery Act passed in 2009, utilities can now also get a 30% tax credit for investments in green technologies like solar. To meet California’s Renewable Energy Standard, utilities must add more renewable power to – or reduce demand on – the grid.
The easiest way to reduce demand on the grid is to green up air conditioning – because the use of air conditioning is almost entirely responsible for the afternoon peak from 1-5. And afternoon is just when solar insolation is greatest. Enter Linum Systems.
There are other companies attempting to turn solar thermal into green cooling technologies like Hawaii-based Sopogy, and Israel’s EWA, but Linum appears to have put together (and patented) the breakthrough system most easily commercialized into a widely adoptable system for the average homeowner.
The idea is that solar thermal collectors provide the hot water used for an absorption-based chiller to refrigerate air for air conditioning, but the system can switch seamlessly between solar thermally heated and electricity-heated hot water for a very efficient electric air conditioner when needed.
The solar collectors require about a room-sized space on the roof (160 sq ft), so it would not be suitable for high-rise apartment buildings with many floors below, but would be very workable for single family homes.
Linum solar thermal hybrid air conditioning system could revolutionize cooling, which as the planet broils, will only become more crucial.
Image: Flikr user pricklypearbloom
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