Thiel Invests in LightSail Compressed-Air Storage System

LightSail Energy Inc., a closely held developer of energy-storage systems, received $37.3 million in funding led by billionaire investor Peter Thiel to commercialize its technology.

The Series D financing included Khosla Ventures, which led LightSail’s prior funding rounds, and billionaire Bill Gates, the Berkeley, California-based company said today in a statement.

LightSail is developing systems that compress air in tanks and generate electricity when the air is released. Renewable sources of energy such as wind and sunlight can’t provide power all the time, and the industry is seeking cost-effective methods to store power for use after sundown or when the wind isn’t blowing.

The company’s storage technology may “make renewable energy practical and mainstream for the first time,” Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, said in the statement.

Other companies are developing similar systems, including SustainX Inc. and General Compression Inc. Innovacorp also participated in the funding.

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