Compressed Storage: Energy Storage Under Pressure at TED CERN

Inventor Danielle Fong, realizing the biggest problems of her generation was energy.  She joined the nuclear fusion efforts, before realizing it wouldn’t make a difference in time and the price tag was too high.  “By the time mainline nuclear fusion was accomplished, the war may have already been lost,” she says.

She headed to Silicon Valley and decided the best chance to make a difference in time was to work with energy storage.  Batteries were too expensive, and degraded to rapidly.  It came to her to store energy in air, using air compressors.

They raised more than $58 million in private capital.  They built what they believe is the most flexible compressor energy storage.


This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Most energy storage methods, including batteries, are expensive and difficult to scale. Danielle Fong saw the opportunity to reinvent a classic technology – compressed air – to solve hi-tech energy problems. She developed a method to improve the efficiency of compressed air as an energy storage medium that could radically reduce cost and complexity.


Cofounder and chief scientist of LightSail Energy, Danielle Fong was featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list of people who aren’t waiting to reinvent the world in 2012. Fong dropped out of junior high school at age 12 to attend Dalhousie University, then dropped out of Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Department to start LightSail Energy. The company develops a form of compressed air energy storage, called ‘regenerative air energy storage’, which may be the missing link in the plan to make the world’s electrical grid green.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


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