Transphorm. reimagine power conversion.

November 22, 2011 in Conversion

The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that entropy, or energy wasted, can only remain constant or increase in a system.

Transphorm, based in Goleta, CA, is in essence challenging entropy with their ultra-efficient power conversion modules which eliminate up to 90% of electric conversion losses, redefining the power conversion industry.

At Watt Now, we’ve written about companies that are revolutionizing all aspects of the energy ecosystem to be more sustainable and efficient – be it from the supply side (ex. Bandgap), the demand side (ex. Opower), the storage side (ex. A123), or the post-consumption side (ex. Harvest Power).

What we forget sometimes, is the distribution / conversion step of the energy system.  And in fact, this step is extremely critical – more than 10% of all electricity is ultimately lost due to conversion inefficiencies.

When we talk about electric power conversion, we mean going from DC to AC or AC to DC or DC to DC or AC to AC.

And it’s happening all the time.

The power supply for your computer converts the AC power coming out of the wall to DC power for your computer.  Solar panels produce DC power that is then converted to AC with an inverter to feed back into the grid which will eventually then be converted back to DC to power your electronics.  There are logical reasons for converting electricity, but each time it’s converted, we lose a bit of power.

But with Transphorm’s technology, we can lose a lot less power.  Up to 90% less compared to existing technology.

Conversion works by fast switching circuits.  Transphorm’s technological breakthrough came through the use of Gallium Nitride (GaN), a material which allows for switching at much higher frequencies than other materials.  With over 30 patents, Transphorm has created the world’s most efficient, compact and cost-effective power conversion technology – that can be easily integrated into pretty much any electrical system (ex. power supplies, inverters, motor drives).

Transphorm’s has raised $63 million in funding from a range of investors including Google Ventures and ARPA-E, and they unveiled their first product, a power diode based on their EZ GaNTM s at the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) in March 2011 and then again at the PCIM Europe Conference in May 2011.

It seems like the product is ready, but I’m not sure commercialization has started.  I hope it does sooner than later.

Come on Transphorm, let’s beat entropy.