Flywheel Maker Pentadyne Raises $14M


Flywheel technology doesn’t have the wow-factor of electric cars or solar panels in the cleantech world. Listen to the description: spinning discs that store energy of motion and can replace lead acid batteries in backup power systems. Investors are paying attention, though. Chatsworth, Calif.-based flywheel maker Pentadyne Power said this week that it’s raised another $14 million round of funding from Loudwater Investment Partners.

Flywheels aren’t widely distributed yet and represent just 6 percent of the UPS (uninterruptible power supply) market, according to Frost & Sullivan. The technology, which can back up power when the grid fails, is an eco-friendly alternative to lead acid batteries and is gaining in popularity with the go-green data center movement. Other flywheel companies include Beacon Power [BCON] and Active Power [ACPW].

Pentadyne develops magnetically levitated carbon-fiber flywheel systems that it says use 90 percent less power than other flywheels. Founded in 19983, Pentadyne had already raised at least $32 million in funding from companies including Nth Power, Rustic Canyon Partners, DTE Energy, MVV Innovations, Sempra Energy, Electricité de France, and Ben Rosen.

Update: We chatted with Pentadyne President and CEO Mark McGough, who says the company’s flywheel technology has 2 advantages for getting power consumption down: no external vacuum pump, and no mechanical bearings. He says that enables the company to have power requirements that are 10% of the competition’s. The company hopes that will give them an edge in what McGough says is “far and away the fastest growing part of the [backup power] market.”

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