Opcondys announced today that it was awarded $3 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding will be used to develop an innovative grid-tied energy storage inverter based on the company’s ground breaking power electronic device.
“We are very excited to have been awarded this funding. It will allow us to produce a unique inverter that will be more energy efficient and smaller and less expensive than what is on the market now. Our technology will enable greater use of grid-tied energy storage which is critical to the integration of more solar and wind energy into the electric grid,” said Kristin Sampayan, CEO.
Opcondys is an early stage startup company founded to develop the optical transconductance varistor (OTV), a revolutionary power electronic device for controlling very high voltage electricity. The technology behind the OTV was invented at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Opcondys has licensed the patents from LLNL and is actively working to bring the OTV to market for use in modernizing the electric grid and other applications where existing devices are less effective and more expensive.
Opcondys received this competitive award from ARPA-E’s Creating Innovative and Reliable Circuits Using Inventive Topologies and Semiconductors (CIRCUITS) program, which seeks to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative, high power, high performance electric power converters. CIRCUITS projects leverage a new class of efficient, lightweight, and reliable power converters based on wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor technology, using materials like silicon carbide or gallium nitride instead of the silicon that is dominant today.
The inverter that Opcondys will develop with this award uses a unique circuit based on the advanced capabilities of the OTV. It will convert the lower voltage of the energy storage element, such as batteries, into the higher voltage used to transmit and distribute electricity. It can eliminate the transformers needed with the inverters now in use. This saves both space and money when the system is installed.