Alphabet Energy

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Alphabet Energy
Founded December 29, 2008; 8 years ago (2008-12-29)
Headquarters Hayward, California, U.S.
Key people
Matthew L. Scullin (CEO and co-founder)[1]
Products Thermoelectric generators
Number of employees

Alphabet Energy is a startup company founded in 2009 at the University of California, Berkeley by thermoelectrics expert Matthew L. Scullin[2] and Peidong Yang.[3] The company uses nanotechnology and materials science applications to create thermoelectric generators that are more cost effective than previous bismuth telluride-based devices. The company is based in Hayward, California. It started with a license to use silicon nanowire developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.[4][5][6][7] They moved from UC Berkeley to offices in San Francisco in 2011, and later to Hayward.[8]

Alphabet has a number of patents related to the capture of waste heat for purposes of electricity generation.[9] The company is working with tetrahedrite, a common mineral with thermoelectric properties.

2011's The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses describes Alphabet Energy's approach to product development as an example of the successful practice of the book's principles. Author Eric Ries is on Alphabet's advisory board.[10]

Alphabet has raised over $35 million in venture capital funding from Claremont Creek, TPG Capital, Encana[11] and the California Clean Energy Fund. They were chosen as a 2014 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer [12] and as a 2015 IHS CERAWeek Energy Innovation Pioneer.

The company’s name, based on the word alpha, comes from its use as a term for a Seebeck coefficient, and has no relation to the Google holding company, Alphabet Inc.


In 2014, Alphabet Energy introduced the world’s first industrial-scale thermoelectric generator, the E1. The E1 takes exhaust heat from large industrial engines and turns it into electricity. The result is an engine that needs less fuel to deliver the same power. The E1 is optimized for engines up to 1,400 kW, and works on any engine or exhaust source, currently generating up to 25 kWe on a standard 1,000 kW engine. The E1's modules are interchangeable but currently come with a low-cost proprietary thermoelectric material and the device is rated for a 10-year life span. As advances in thermoelectric materials are made, new modules can be swapped in for old ones, to continually improve fuel efficiency to as much as 10%.


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