Energy Storage Start Up Funded By GE, Others

General Electric’s Energy Financial Services division, along with other investors, recently gave energy storage start up SustainX $14.4 million in financing for further development of its technology. GE joins Cadent Energy Partners, Polaris Venture, and Rockport Capital in the latest round capital investment.

Previously, SustainX received $5.4 million in funds from the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Energy for development costs. The company was founded in 2007 by engineers at Darthmouth College, and now seeks to employ their storage technology for grid-scale, a sector that is predicted to be a $18 billion industry by 2015. SustainX looks to corner some of the market by using a patented air compression system to store energy with a two step process.

Image via SustainX

The company stores energy by first compressing air with drive pistons inside cylinders, storing it in above-ground chambers. Then, the stored air is used to drive the same pistons which power an electric generator. Because the air is regulated at the same temperature during compression and expansion, SustainX says the system is more efficient and reduces costs, calling the project Isothermal Compressed-Air Energy Storage.

GE Energy Financial Services has become a big player in renewable energy, recently investing in wind power in California and 183 MW wind project in Idaho. We recently reported as well that it is looking to spend somewhere around $300 million over the next four years on around 30 venture projects, and seems well on its way to meet that goal.

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Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.