A wild idea to create an “internet of energy”, transmitting power from space using light beams has landed $3 million in Seed funding
Aquila Earth is a renewable energy startup looking to create the world’s first global, wireless energy network. The round was led by Blackbird Ventures alongside Possible Ventures, Icehouse Ventures and Startmate.
Aquila is the brainchild of 23-year-old Billy Jeremijenko and ex-Rocket Lab engineer Nelson Smith. They recently emerged from the Startmate accelerator program and wants to use space-based optical relay systems to transmit power via light-beams, to be received by solar technology at demand points globally.
The network will offer energy transmission solutions across hundreds of kilometres to realise Nikola Tesla’s vision of wireless transmission of electricity.
“Think of it as like the leap from dial up internet to Wi-Fi,” Jeremijenko explains.
“We’re taking electricity from power lines and poles along a direct route and extending it through a dynamic, wireless network.”
Aquila’s current prototypes can power drones in flight – increasing their flight time while reducing their battery weight.
After scaling the technology to charge faster, higher electric aircraft, and then satellites, the company’s long-term vision is to create the “internet of energy” which will take the form of space-based optical relay systems that will supply electricity markets worldwide.
Blackbird partner Niki Scevak sees the concept as one way of addressing the challenges of managing network grids in the shift to renewables.
“Novel solutions are needed if we are to accelerate the world’s electrification and renewable energy adoption,” he said.
“Aquila offers an enchanting vision that would enable a country like Australia to become a renewable superpower by transporting our abundance of midday sun to service the energy needs of the evening hours of the most populous cities of the world.”
Smith and Jeremijenko believe that the technology they are harnessing is the next logical step for the energy industry.
“We found that technologies from various industries were coincidentally converging on enabling wireless energy transfer via light. Within this opportunity, we discovered a way to do it safely, cheaply, and at high power. Now, we are left with the fun engineering challenge to build it” Smith explained.
The cash injection will see the founding team of five scale the technology they’ve proven at low power levels, having achieved an impressive 3x distance and 10x power scale up in their capabilities in the last month. The company has also been selected for the KPMG x Stone & Chalk Future Technology Program.