MIT Tech Review’s annual list looking at 35 innovators under 35 always has gems for the energy, energy efficiency and clean power sectors. This year’s list is no different and the publication highlights three under-the-radar entrepreneurs and inventors at need-to-know startups including ultracapacitor startup FastCAP, geothermal drilling company Foro Energy and battery company Wuhe.
Here’s the 3 energy innovators under 35 that you should know from their list:
1). Joel Moxley, Foro Energy, 31: I met with Joel at the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E event earlier this year and the company received a $9 million grant from ARPA-E in 2009. Foro Energy is developing a thermal-chemical drilling process using lasers and fiber optic cables, which could be sold to geothermal power plant drillers, or other types of drillers, like the natural gas and oil industries. The traditional geothermal drilling tech takes time and wears out the drill quickly.
The company is backed by VCs, North Bridge Venture Partners, and CMEA Capital, and Tech Review notes that Foro has raised about $20 million in venture capital and government grants. Commercial drilling using Foro’s technology could begin in two to three years.
2). Riccardo Signorelli, FastCAP Systems, 33: FastCAP is another ARPA-E grant winner, and the ultracapacitor maker won $5.3 million also back in 2009. When FastCAP won the grant, ARPA-E called the innovation a “nanotube-enhanced ultracapacitor with energy density approaching that of standard batteries, but with many times greater power density and thousands of times the cycle.” Tech Review notes that the carbon nanotubes can make an electrode with a large surface area that can triple the amount of energy that each battery cell can store. The benefit could be hybrid cars that use the tech to offer a low cost plug-in car.
Tech Review says FastCAP has raised $7.6 million, and the company lists investors including the Chesonis Family Foundation, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and angel investors.
3). Yu-Guo Guo, WuHe, 33: I’m so glad Tech Review included this entrepreneur because this is the first I’ve heard of him! The publication says Yu-Guo Guo is a Professor of chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and has been working on battery technology for electric cars that can deliver more power at 10 percent less cost. The innovation is to combine phosphate nanoparticles into larger particles made of porous carbon, says Tech Review, which retain a high conductivity but easier to pack together.