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Pentadyne Power, a Chatsworth, Calif.-based developer of flywheel energy storage systems, has just closed $2 million in debt financing from an undisclosed source. The company previously brought in $80 million from Rustic Canyon Ventures, DTE Energy Ventures, MVV Innovation Portfolio, Nth Power and Loudwater Investment Partners, reports VentureWire.

It most recently took $22 million last September. At the time, it planned to use the money for overseas expansion. Flywheel systems store energy kinetically, rather than chemically like batteries. This makes them lighter, easier to transport and less harmful to the environment. A lot of Pentadyne’s clients are large data centers because flywheel systems radiate less heat. Hospitals are also a target market, needing an uninterrupted, reliable source of energy. At the same time, many users have complained of lower efficiency rates and energy waste. Pentadyne says its design minimizes these problems and requires less maintenance, saving clients up to $3,000 a year.

The company competes most directly with Active Power (NSDQ: ACPW). It successfully surpassed Active’s sales last fall, shipping 34 percent more systems. But this only accounted for $19.2 million in revenue, a tiny figure relative to the millions raked in by battery companies every year (which it technically rivals). With a higher price tag than most battery systems, flywheels have a tough road to hoe. If Pentadyne and its peers are to succeed, they must emphasize the eventual cost savings that can be achieved with their products — but even then it will probably remain a niche market.

Here’s a look at the flywheel technology:

[Image source: Active Power]

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