Bill Gates-backed wind startup AirLoom seeks $12M, filings show


What began as a napkin sketch has now materialized into a burgeoning startup, with AirLoom Energy securing $12.7 million in new funding.

This funding round saw participation from 21 investors, as detailed in a regulatory filing that does not disclose the names of the contributors. The company has yet to comment on the funding.

Headquartered in Wyoming, AirLoom Energy offers an innovative solution to wind power generation. Instead of mounting gigantic turbines atop towers exceeding 100 meters in height, the company affixes vertical blades to cables arranged along an oval track just 25 meters (82 feet) above the ground. This setup aims to produce electricity at a cost of $13 per megawatt hour, significantly undercutting traditional onshore wind energy by over 50%.

The concept for this unique configuration draws inspiration from kiteboarding, a hobby of founder Robert Lumley, who initially sketched the idea during a wind energy conference in Berlin.

Significant cost savings are expected from AirLoom’s lower profile machinery. Modern wind turbines become more efficient with increased size, but their enormous towers and blades pose substantial transportation challenges, occasionally requiring up to a year of logistical planning. In contrast, AirLoom’s smaller components simplify manufacturing, transport, and assembly.

Previously, AirLoom secured $4 million in seed funding in November from Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, and MCJ Collective. Concurrently, Neal Rickner, the former COO of Makani Energy, was appointed CEO. Rickner aims to advance the technology to enable the construction of a 1-megawatt pilot by 2026, a goal for which the new funds are expected to provide crucial support.

Tim De Chant
Tim De Chant
Senior climate reporter. Previously, Tim has written for Wired magazine, The Wire China, the Chicago Tribune, and NOVA Next, among others, and he is also a lecturer in MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing. De Chant was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT in 2018, and he received his PhD in environmental science, policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley.

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