Google's $20 million investment along with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in a scarcely-known company called Transphorm could ultimately produce, according to the startup's CEO, efficiencies in electric power conversion (AC to DC or DC to AC) equivalent to the output of 318 coal-fired power plants.
The secret sauce in the Transphorm approach is a material known as Gallium Nitride that allows circuit switching at much higher frequencies than traditional silicon converters and inverters. The process produces up to 90 percent less wasted heat energy.
The investment by Google (NYSE: GOOG), the Mountainview, Calif.-based tech giant, represents another adventurous foray into what is now a broad collection of cleantech and sustainability projects; projects ranging from offshore wind energy transmission and its own electric utility, Google Energy, on one end of the spectrum, to electric vehicles and a human-powered monorail on the other. Exactly where Transphorm's potentially transformational technology will fit on that spectrum remains to be seen. The company hasn't led on too much about the technology or where it sees sees optimal market opportunities but says data centers, HVAC systems, solar farms and electric vehicles and chargers would be good candidates.
Read my entire piece about Google and Transphorm at Celsias.