Investing in Our Energy
Future: The Story of General Compression
March 1, 2012
What does government funding mean to a small clean energy startup? In
the case of many ARPA-E awardees and small businesses across the
country, it means being able to secure the private capital necessary to
bring their innovations to life.
Just ask David Marcus, founder of General Compression, a Massachusetts
company founded in 2006 that received a $750,000 award from ARPA-E to
develop a technology that has the ability to store renewable energy for
use at any location on the electric grid. “Investors were interested in
the company but hesitant about funding us further.”
His colleague Eric Ingersoll, CEO of General Compression, agrees.
“Having had an outside agency decide to fund us, develop their own
analysis of what the key risks were, and then work with us to verify the
accomplishment of those milestones and then pronounce that we had in
fact successfully completed that project gave outside investors a huge
degree of confidence in our technology.”
after successfully completing the technology -- the first project
completed out of any ARPA-E program -- General Compression has expanded
to 60 employees and partnered with leading energy company ConocoPhillips
on a full-scale demonstration facility in Texas.
General Compression’s advanced air compression process is able to store
and release more than a week’s worth of the energy generated by wind
turbines. Flexible, large-scale storage like this is the first step
toward creating a stronger and more robust electric grid by enabling
renewables to contribute to reliable power generation.
Investments like these are helping secure our clean energy future by
allowing us to out-innovate our global competitors and create new clean
energy jobs across the country.