It’s refreshing to see a little innovation going into the wind industry. On Tuesday, Danotek, a startup that builds a technology called permanent magnetic generators for wind turbines (also with applications in the transportation and grid sectors), announced that it has raised $15 million from high-profile investors GE Energy Financial Services, Khosla Ventures, CMEA Capital, and Statoil Technology.
Danotek generators use high-powered magnets to convert mechanical energy from spinning wind blades into electric power. This type of generator isn’t new and has been used in small applications, like home appliances, but only recently have engineers started looking to use it in large-scale power generation. Danotek is also looking to move into both selling an electro-hydraulic power steering pump system for the auto industry, and also generators for the power grid.
Danotek has added cooling technology and other design features, which can supposedly increase a generator’s efficiency at high and low wind speeds. The startup estimates its technology will enable wind turbines to harvest an average of 15 percent more energy than turbines currently on the market, providing about $1 million in additional revenue over the life of the turbine. In addition, Danotek says its generators are more reliable and less costly to maintain than conventional induction generators because they contain fewer wear-and-tear parts.
Scott Mabie, Danotek’s director of business development, told us back in 2009 that the firm plans to produce about 1,000 generators in 2010 and 4,000 units per year by 2012. Scaling up manufacturing takes funding, hence the latest round. As of the end of 2009, Danotek had raised $21 million, so this recent Series B round more than doubles the company’s funding.