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Google Funds Transphorm Energy Efficiency Breakthrough


by Energy Matters

Google Ventures Backs Transphorm
It's being widely reported this morning that search giant Google has become a financial backer of a device that promises far better efficiency in a range of electrical devices, including solar panels.
VentureBeat reports California-based Transphorm has gained the backing of Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins. Transphorm claims their super-efficient power modules can eliminate up to 90% of all electric conversion losses, and in all sorts of devices; from computer servers to solar panels to hybrid cars. 
The greenest watt is the one that does not have to be generated and energy efficiency is often seen as the low hanging fruit in terms of carbon abatement and electricity consumption reduction.
Given the many and vast data centers Google operates to power its search engine, their attraction to the technology is certainly understandable as it could further reduce the company's emissions and electricity costs substantially.
According to the Transphorm web site, over 10% of all electricity generated due to conversion inefficiencies; a staggering figure that represents more than the entire supply of renewable energy globally.
While brief on details, Transphorm's site says the company's efficiency breakthrough is through the use of a material known as Gallium Nitride, or "GaN". Gallium Nitride is able to switch at much higher frequencies than traditional components and when coupled with Transphorm's circuit design, enables "the world's most efficient, most compact, and most cost-effective power conversion technology."
Transphorm is headed by Umesh Mishra, who prior to co-founding Transphorm in 2007, was co-founder of Nitres Inc;  the first start-up company to develop GaN LEDs and transistors. Transphorm's other co-founder is Primit Parikh, also a co-founder of Nitres and has over 15 years in GaN and semiconductor development, technical marketing and intellectual property. Nitres was acquired by Cree, a world leader in LED technology, in 2000. 


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