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Monday, April 24, 2017

Danielle Fong: the scientist who’s making wind and solar power available 24/7

Is there a holy grail in renewables?  What is the next giant step forward in converting unlimited amounts of sun and wind into energy?

Storage, of course,  Capture it when it is there;  deliver on demand.  Get as close to 100% efficient as possible.  Imagine the financial return when you cease wasting so many hours when you can not generate and use power at the same time.

Here we take another step closer to the holy grail.  Innovation is the life blood of our network.  And it is the network of reshaping our global economy.  Behind this will come other holy grails. What will they be?  Who knows.  Perhaps astonishing new delivery systems.  Or combined wind and solar designs that flawlessly integrates both sources of clean energy.  For now we will enjoy the boom around storage.  Let's ride this wave into the next one.

If you ask LightSail Energy’s cofounder and chief scientist, Danielle Fong, she’ll tell you that launching a clean tech enterprise at 20 years old wasn’t her first choice. But it was the only path she could see to solve what industry insiders consider the “holy grail” of green energy issues: inexpensive renewable energy storage.
“I thought I could make a difference,” says Danielle, whose company has the backing of technology power players such as Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla. Now 29, Danielle has been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists for her achievements.
At a time when wind and solar power are becoming more affordable, the clean energy sector is challenged with making these intermittent resources available whenever people need them – not just when the wind’s blowing and the sun’s shining. Danielle’s solution? Build the world’s cleanest, most economical compressed-air energy storage system.
It’s an ambitious undertaking, but the rising entrepreneur likes a challenge. After all, she enrolled at Dalhousie University in her native Canada at age 12, and graduated with honors in physics and computer science by 17. Her passion for sustainable energy then led her to a PhD program at Princeton University, where she worked on nuclear fusion research. In 2007, she moved to northern California to start a business, launching LightSail Energy less than two years later.
Solar and wind power have become incredibly economical. Unfortunately, solar panels do not work at night, nor well through overcast skies. Wind turbines harness strong winds, but on calm days produce little power. We need economical ways to store the energy for when it is needed most. This is what we are trying to develop.” 
Danielle Fong
Today, LightSail continues to refine its innovative energy storage system and carbon fiber, high-pressure air tanks to bring to commercial market. The company is getting closer to Danielle’s long-term vision for changing the world.

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