LARAMIE, Wyo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Airloom Energy, an energy company revolutionizing utility-scale wind energy generation, today announced the appointment of Neal Rickner as Chief Executive Officer. He succeeds founder Robert Lumley, who will remain with Airloom.
Rickner brings more than 25 years of operational and investing experience in the energy, defense, and industrial sectors. Prior to his role as CEO of BridgeTek Energy, a global battery integration services and software technology provider, Rickner served as the Managing Partner of Elevation Ventures, where he led investments in early-stage energy and mobility companies. He spent nearly a decade at Google and Google[x] leading teams, most notably serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Makani, a next-generation wind-turbine company owned by Alphabet and Shell. Rickner is also a decorated veteran of the U.S. Marines, serving as an F-18 pilot and Forward Air Controller for over 12 years.
"I am truly honored to join this remarkable team on a journey that promises not only to revolutionize the energy landscape, but also to leave a lasting positive impact on our environment and energy security,” said Rickner. “I want to express my gratitude for the incredible work done thus far, and an unwavering commitment to a sustainable future."
Rickner’s appointment comes on the heels of Airloom Energy’s raise of $4 million in seed funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and supported by investors including Lowercarbon Capital and MCJ Collective, among others. The financing is fueling research and development of the Airloom wind energy test device, which is designed to produce 50 kilowatts (kW) of electricity. Future systems are expected to be megawatt scale and deployed hundreds of megawatts at a time in utility-scale wind farms.
Airloom utilizes the same physics as a conventional horizontal-axis wind turbine (HAWT), but with a very different layout. This novel approach results in a unique utility-scale wind power device that produces the same amount of power as a HAWT at a small fraction of the mass and cost. Conventional wind turbines can approach a height of 500 feet, with 180-foot blades rotating on a 300-foot tower. In contrast, the typical Airloom runs 30-foot blades along a lightweight track with a total height of 80 feet.
Cost and environmental advantages extend over the Airloom’s entire lifecycle. It uses readily sourced materials to ensure rapid manufacturing, and an entire 2.5 MW Airloom could be transported in one standard tractor trailer. It can be configured high or low, short or long, to optimize siting, viewplane and usage, and does not require large concrete foundations in commissioning. The decrease in overall weight and materials also means greatly reduced landfill impacts at the end of its use.
“For decades, the wind industry has lowered the cost of energy production by scaling ever larger turbines. Although this has been extremely successful in driving down overall costs, the approach now faces challenges in terms of both siting and cost of materials,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “Airloom’s unique approach can solve both these problems, opening new market opportunities for wind energy that will further drive down costs. We look forward to Neal’s leadership in bringing this revolutionary technology into the market.”
To learn more about Airloom or to join its growing team, please visit www.airloomenergy.com.
About Airloom Energy
Airloom Energy, Inc. is a Wyoming-based manufacturer of the Airloom, a novel wind turbine that promises to revolutionize utility-scale wind energy generation. It was founded in 2020 and is currently operating a 50-kilowatt test device. The company has raised seed funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, MCJ Collective, and others. Visit www.airloomenergy.com to learn more.
About Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, BEV has raised more than $2 billion in committed capital to support cutting-edge companies that are leading the world to net-zero emissions. BEV is a purpose-built investment firm that is seeking to invest, launch and scale global companies that will eliminate GHG emissions throughout the economy as soon as possible. BEV seeks true breakthroughs and is committed to supporting these entrepreneurs and companies by bringing to bear a unique combination of technical, operational, market and policy expertise.
BEV is a part of Breakthrough Energy, a network of investment vehicles, philanthropic programs, policy advocacy and other activities committed to scaling the technologies we need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Visit www.breakthroughenergy.org to learn more.