Climate-friendly cooling technology company wins $ 50 million from Goldman Sachs

Phononic’s thermoelectric cooler (TEC) can be seen in the image of this cast released on July 21, 2021. Photo taken in 2019 in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Broadcast via PHONONIC / REUTERS

July 21, 2021

Jane lanch lee

(Reuters) – Chemicals used in air conditioning, freezers and refrigeration have long negatively impacted the environment by destroying the ozone layer and polluting water sources, but technology has changed the way we to cool. I begin.

Phononic, a Durham-based startup that makes so-called cooling chips using a material called tellurized bismuth, said it raised $ 50 million from Goldman Sachs Asset Management on Wednesday.

Tony Atti, co-founder and CEO of Phononic, says that when electricity passes through a chip, the current heats up, causing one side of the chip to cool and the other to heat up.

Chips can be as large as a small portion from fingernail to fist, depending on how much coolant is needed, creating a compact freezer for ice cream at convenience stores such as Vaccine Transport and Circle K. Was used for. .. Recent rapidly growing applications are aimed at preventing the overheating of lidar, laser sensors for self-driving cars, and optical transceivers for 5G data transmission.

“Historic refrigerants used in vapor compression systems are toxic and a source of global warming,” Atti said. Although the effects of global warming have been mitigated, refrigerants still present toxicity and flammability issues.

According to Ati, tellurized bismuth powder itself is toxic, but when made into semiconductor wafers into chips, it is “good” and meets all standards for chip safety and disposal and is therefore recycled or discarded. I can do it.

The cooling chips are made at Phononic’s own factory in Durham, and the company is working with Thailand-based Fabrinet for mass production. The vaccine and ice cream freezers are made in China by subcontractors and have or in some cases are co-branded by Phonic customers, he said.

The funds will be used to build mass production and expand the phononic market and product line.

Ati declined to share the last phononic note, but said it was “$ 500 million north.” Former investors include Temasek Holdings, private equity and venture capital firm Oak Investment Partners.

(Report by Jane Lanhee Lee, edited by Richard Pullin)

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