Efficient Power Plant Tech Grabs VC Dollars


advancedpowerdevice.jpgSome of the most important cleantech innovations can be created by tweaking traditional carbon-emitting sources to make them more efficient. Startup Advanced Power Projects is doing just that with traditional power plants, and has raised a Series A round of funding from Sequoia Capital, Redpoint and Bay Partners. Advanced Power Project CEO Pete Cartwright tells us that the round was a little over $10 million.

The company’s technology, called the “Simplified Combined Cycle,” captures wasted heat expended by gas turbines used in power plants, and injects the heat back into the process, thereby making the system more efficient. Power plant owners can use the tech to generate more power at a lower cost, while also reducing greenhouse gases. Cartwright tells us that a gas turbine power plant using its tech can deliver 30 percent to 40 percent more power.

Cartwright, the former CEO of power company Calpine, founded the company two years ago with entrepreneur Tom Mason, and the technology was developed by Dah Yu Cheng. Cartwright says the company incorporated just this month and will use the funds to start selling the product to both traditional power plant owners, and owners of plants that are using renewable energy, like wind and solar.

This is one of just a few select cleantech investments from Sequoia. And fitting with Sequoia’s plan to invest in green companies that already have a product ready to sell, Cartwright tells us that Advanced Power Project is talking to 30 customers — from large regulated utilities to independent power companies to industrial companies that generate their own power — about upgrading to their tech.



Brent Quebman energyQue.com

This is all great stuff but shouldn’t we all look inward a bit? How much of the energy put out by any powerplant is simply wasted? Look around your house and think about how much vanishes into thin air. Heating, powerbricks plugged in, lights left on etc. the list goes on and on… If someone was sneaking money out of your checking account, you would be upset, right? Then DO something this weekend! An investment that pays comfort dividends.


Green energy is definitely the best solution in most cases. Technology like solar energy, wind power, fuel cells, zaps electric vehicles, EV hybrids, etc have come so far recently. Green energy even costs way less than oil and gas in many cases.

Stephen Partain

The only problem I see with this is that H2O will now be coming out of the stack as an “air emission” and H2O is a more harmful “greenhouse gas” than CO2 or NO2. I understand that is sounds like a “green” thing to do. I mean, it’s water right? Well, yes it’s just water, but water traps heat better than these other gases making it much more likely to cause so called global warming. Just wondering how they are going to explain this.

Katie Fehrenbacher

Nathan, Thanks for the question. I asked Advanced Power Project’s CEO on the distinction. He says a combined cycle power plant takes the waste heat into a boiler, creates steam which drives a separate steam turbine generator. And a Simplified Combined Cycle plant takes the steam from the boiler and injects it back into the gas turbine. He says the advantages include less equipment, lower cost, greater ability to respond to load changes and reduced air emissions.

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