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Mint.com founder backs Capire Micropower's engine-on-a-chip

Capire Micropower, a startup that manufactures an engine-on-a-chip power supply, announced today that it has secured angel funding from Mint.com’s Aaron Patzer and is coming out of stealth mode at VentureBeat’s cleantech conference GreenBeat 2010 at Stanford University.

The “powerchip” manufactured by Capire is essentially a 10-watt power supply that’s based on jet engines and train engines. The chip has its own fuel supply that runs on either ethanol or biodiesel. It’s placed in a hybridized setup that will charge batteries when devices go into standby mode, and serves as a “range extender” like hybrid vehicles have today.

When placed in a laptop, the chip should extend the life of a laptop to around 40 hours. It’s potentially a huge market, as there will be an estimated 266 million laptops shipped in 2013, said Jason Massey, cofounder and chairman of Capire Micropower. Chips can also be clustered together for larger devices, like scooters or even robots.

The final chip model should by ready in about a year and a half, when Capire will bring it to market for mass production. Massey wouldn’t go into specifics over how much money he raised in the angel round, which included Mint.com’s Patzer and other individual investors, but he said it was somewhere between $250,000 and $1 million. He said the company was seeing a lot of interest for its first round of funding, but it wouldn’t be closed until the beginning of next year due to the holidays.

Capire is a spinout of MIT and Duke University resulting from a $25 million fund from DARPA and the Army Research Office. The team of eight engineers is split between Durham, N.C. and Cambridge, Mass. Capire is currently looking to raise its first round of funding.