Interesting article via Fortune

Danielle Fong wants to revamp the power grid with energy from compressed air.

Scientist Danielle Fong, 27, has been running her company LightSail Energy for six years and has yet to bring a product to market. In fairness, she is trying to create something that has never been built before—something that could revamp the power grid.

LightSail’s aim is to compress air to create heat and then use that to power, well, just about anything that needs it. This energy would be cheaper and cleaner than fossil fuels and would allow renewables sources, like wind and solar, to be stored for later use. To harness the energy, LightSail injects a mist of water spray into the air, which absorbs the heat energy, and allows it to be stored in a shipping container system or underground caverns. The stored energy could then be pumped back into the grid when demand is high at a lower cost to users.

In her corner, Fong has Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures, and Peter Thiel, all of whom have invested in LightSail as the Berkeley, Calif. company has grown to 55 employees. Two other companies, SustainX (which is largely backed by GE Energy Financial Services) and General Compression, are also developing energy compression storage technology to try and tap into a potentially trillion-dollar market.

Fortune spoke with Fong about her invention.

Read the article here